Churchie Talk…

If what I say about my relationship with Jesus is what I believe about Him…
I don’t have to use “over spiritual” words to describe it…

Jesus is my Daddy… We hang out together, when He is with me I am fearless… When He is with me I have peace… When we are apart, I feel that, it sucks but I know He didn’t leave, I was to busy or to stubborn to spend time with my Daddy… He gives me little reminders throughout my day that He wants to connect, reconnecting with Dad is the best:-) I never want to leave His side…

Even if i don’t feel it right now, I am incredibly loved by my Dad…

It is my desire to be more real, more authentic, in how I describe my relationship with Jesus this year… After all “churchie words” are not the end result of a relationship with Jesus…

The end result of a relationship with Jesus is: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, self control, kindness, goodness and faithfulness…

I want to have a relationship with Jesus people can notice and I can describe without needing a Christianity 101 class… I want to live loved…

Reality Check for the Most Important Relationship of Your Life!

New Year Prayer Guide

1. Adoration: Praising God for who He is

Read & Reflect:
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:1, 2, 4, 5, 8 NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46:1 NLT)

Pray that God would give you a greater understanding of His Word.
Pray for God to place a desire in your heart to know Him and be known by Him
Pray that you may better realize how much God loves you and what He has done for you.

2. Confession: Releasing to God your sins
Read & Reflect:

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:8-10 NLT)

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 NLT)

Talk to God about the sins you have knowingly committed this weekend.
Talk to God about any sins you find yourself repeating.
Talk to God about any relationships that have been broken because of sin… (Gossip, lies, unforgiveness)

3. Thanksgiving: Thank God for all He has done.
Reflect on these verses:

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. (Hebrews 12:28 NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6, 7 NLT)

List 10 blessings in your life, pray and thank God for them.
Pray that Jesus would help you to have a more thankful heart in 2014 than 2013.
Pray and Thank God for His Son and life we have because of His Life, Death & Resurrection.

4. Supplication: Asking, making requests to God

Read & Reflect:
Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalms 37:4 NLT)

Give your burdens to the Lord , and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalms 55:22 NLT)

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

Pray for boldness to have great conversations with God this year, talking to Him like a best friend.
Pray for any requests you may have.
Pray for Jesus give you hope for the new year and a glimpse of how He wants to grow in you and move through you!

Write a Letter To God:
Hide the Letter and find it in July. (We gather the letters and mail them out in July)

Step #1: Write about your current relationship with God. Think about God as a friend, Would you say you are close friends or distant? Write about why you think that.

Step #2: Write about the relationship with God you want to have. Are there areas you need to grow in? Are there areas of your life you have not fully surrendered to Him? Write about how you want the relationship to be at the end of 2014.

Step #3: Write out a few easy action steps that will help you move in the direction of where you want your relationship with God to be. Write out an action plan.

*If you are brave, write out on a separate sheet of paper & share your action plan with a trusted friend and pray for them throughout this year!

Dump Trucks and Dirt: A conversation about student ministry

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Have you ever looked at a dump truck and thought about its job. If you would, humor me for a moment. Inside most dump trucks is often dirt, not always but for the sake of our conversation, its dirt. Do you ever consider the humbling dirt to truck ratio. Again, please humor me. The standard dump truck can carry a load of dirt weighing in somewhere around 32 tons. Everywhere the dump truck travels it will pass, dirt, lots and lots of dirt. There is dirt everywhere. I had a thought the other day as it relates to this daydream. I thought to myself “I wonder if the dump truck often questions if it is really making an impact?” I think its a valid question when you take into consideration, the dirt to dump truck ratio and just how much the truck is outnumbered by the millions if not zillions, tons of dirt in our world.
This crazy day dream illustrates well how some often think about when it comes to Middle School Ministry in the church. We have a few leaders (The dump trucks) and many students (The Dirt). This thinking often leads some to bury their head in the literal dirt and hope the problem figures itself out. Still others see this opportunity as a challenge to make a difference even if for only a small pile of dirt.

Our church is blessed to be infiltrated with many quality dump trucks in our Middle School Ministry. These are trusted adults who Love Jesus and Love our students. Trusted adults who sacrifice their time every week to make an impact in the Kingdom of God. These adults are involved in: Sunday Mornings as Small Group Leaders. Tuesday Nites as Team Leaders, Competition Team Leaders and Hospitality Team leaders. Saturday Nites as Security Team, Dodgeball Organizers, Snack Shop servers and Front Door supervisors. We are very blessed.

Recently, a student was in a disagreement with another student, this disagreement was keeping them from attending DRIVE (Tuesday Nites, 7-9pm, Shameless plug). When confronted about this, I graciously offered that I would move him to a different team if it would bring him back. When given this opportunity the student responded: “Move the other people to a different team, my team leader is awesome.” This leader, this dump truck is doing more than moving dirt around, this leader is making a kingdom impact.
If I could brag about our leaders for a moment. Our leaders care deeply for our kids! They are always coming up with creative ways to help our students know that they are loved. Simple things like: just being present, laughing with them, setting up a volleyball nets to play together, listening to them with passion and conviction to the struggles facing their generation, baking cookies, sending messages of encouragement throughout the week, leading them to God’s word in times of doubt, learning their names, and most importantly building trust to earn the right to speak about the Hope of Jesus in their own lives. Our leaders are on the front lines to see the realities of sin in our world and our Powerful God at work in the lives of our students. Our leaders are committed to helping students take their next steps in following Jesus with a lifelong faith. Because of our dump trucks and their commitment to serving our students our ministry is successful. One thing I can say with complete confidence about our ministry team is that when students attend they leave knowing they are loved here.

Next time you see a dump truck remember that we might not be able to move all the dirt in the world. But that dump truck is not responsible to move all the dirt in the world. No that dump truck is responsible for the dirt it is currently carrying. That is why I love our leaders, because they are committed to Loving Jesus and the students He has placed in our ministry.

There is a lot of dirt in this world, not many realize, there are close to three thousand Middle School Students from: Hamburg, Frontier and Orchard Park combined. The dump trucks we have in our ministry are amazing, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But as Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful but workers are few”. The reality is we could really use a few more people excited for a challenge, to join in the process of seeing God move students who are far from Him, into a relationship with the Hope of the World, Jesus Christ. If you are inspired to be a dump truck please email me: Pastor Tom tneary@wchamburg.org. I would love to speak with you about how you can join our team!

Disclaimer: In no way is the word dirt meant to be a derogatory statement about our teenagers.  This was just a creative metaphor.

ACTS Prayer Guide to a New Year!

A-C-T-S Prayers: This weekend we prayed through the ACTS Prayer guide, this is what we used… I Hope you are able to use it also!

 

1. Adoration: Praising God for who He is

Read & Reflect:

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:1, 2, 4, 5, 8 NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46:1 NLT)

  • Pray that God would give you a greater understanding of His Word.
  • Pray for God to place a desire in your heart to know Him and be known by Him
  • Pray that you may better realize how much God loves you and what He has done for you.

 

2. Confession: Releasing to God your sins

Read & Reflect:

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:8-10 NLT)

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 NLT)

  • Talk to God about the sins you have knowingly committed this weekend.
  • Talk to God about any sins you find yourself repeating.
  • Talk to God about any relationships that have been broken because of sin… (Gossip, lies, unforgiveness)

 

3. Thanksgiving: Thank God for all He has done.

Reflect on these verses:

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. (Hebrews 12:28 NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6, 7 NLT)

  • List 10 blessings in your life you are thankful for, pray and thank God for them.
  • Pray that Jesus would help you to have a more thankful 2013 than 2012.
  • Pray and Thank God for His Son and life we have because of His Life, Death & Resurrection.

 

4. Supplication: Asking, making requests to God

Read & Reflect:

Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalms 37:4 NLT)

Give your burdens to the Lord , and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalms 55:22 NLT)

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

  • Pray for boldness to have great conversations with God this year, talking to Him like a best friend.
  • Pray for any requests you may have.
  • Pray for Jesus give you hope for the new year and a glimpse of how He wants to grow in you and move through you!

 

Finding Light In This Dark World

This was our discussion questions/passages from last weeks D-Group Guilde… Very applicable to everything that has taken place this week at NewTown, CT. I hope you take the time to look up these passages and see light in the darkness.

 

Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 What does this passage teach us about God? Make a list.

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9 Do you see similarities to our world today? Discuss the current reality of our world.

Read Hebrews 4:14-16 What does this passage teach us about the relationship between God and man?

Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-17 What does this passage teach us about God and our current situation on earth?

 

 

What is Love?

 One Sunday morning recently I sitting on my bed and my son brought his Bible over to me and asked if I would read it to him… Of course I took him up on this offer because I value his desire him to read from Gods Word.

So I begin reading it and point to a picture of Jesus.
Joel (2.5yrs) looks at me straight faced and said: “Daddy, I love Jesus”… Of course being a Christ Follower, &  Pastor I was pretty excited to hear him say that, even though I know he might not fully understand what that means… Just hearing him say that was pretty special…

I am not one to let a teachable moment pass by, I asked him, since we had the Bible open, “do you want to read more about Jesus?” His response still has me laughing as he said:

“Nope…”

What a difference a few seconds makes!!!
Lets just say ,I wasn’t having a proud dad moment anymore…
As soon as he said that I was reminded of the times where I have been all “I Love Jesus” and then never taken the time to grow in our relationship by getting into His Word…

What Is Love if I never spend anytime getting to know the other person? Getting to know God?

I hope this funny little story challenged you like it challenged me… Let’s not just say “I love Jesus”and then ignore the letter God wrote that explains our situation and His Sacrifice and His Love and His Forgiveness…

What is Love? Open the Bible and you will find out!!!