Strong Participation in Faithful Service

>> Monday, April 29, 2013

Today I was inspired by the strong and faithful work that occurred on our Cedar Falls campus during our Spring Work Day.  This day is sponsored and organized by our Route 55 Ministry which is a ministry of those who are 55 years old and better.   Between 60 and 70 people partnered to do everything they could to help us continue to be a prevailing church.  I reminded our staff early this morning not to simply see volunteers wiring, cleaning, cooking, planting......, but to see people who love Jesus serving Him in these very important ways--building His kingdom and serving our church.

Thank you for the great participation on this Monday.

 All kinds of cleaning and upkeep items are handled on this day.  I hope someone remembered to cut  the electricity!

 Following an early morning hailstorm, much good outside work was done around our campus--once the ice melted.
 The hospitality team for this day made certain that no one went hungry!
I celebrate the faithfulness of these great people.  Thank you!


Staff and Leadership Board Community Day!

>> Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yesterday our entire staff and four members of our Leadership Board, invested our day in traveling by bus to different parts of our Community.  We enjoyed a day of getting in touch with people in our community who often are distant and unseen by us as we live our normal and everyday lives.

We visited the Waterloo's River Loop Public Market and the Plaid Peacock where our Youth Art Team has painted a huge and beautiful mural.  We heard from Jorge and Nuriz Lopez at the La Cosecha Hispanic Church.  We had a delicious lunch while visiting with many folks at the Salvation Army. 

In the afternoon,  we interacted with Chaplain Rick from the Tyson plant, got a tour of 316 Walnut House, Jobs for Life (led by Brian Carr, one of our Leadership Board members) and a home that Mike and Laura Hoy are buying to have roots in the neighborhood.

Our day ended with a time of worship in our own sanctuary.  God is at work beyond our wildest imaginations.  He is at work in places within our community that we aren't even aware of.  He is even at work within us in ways that we seldom recognize.

Armond Floyd (Fuzzy) leads us in worship as we close our day together!


Are you growing?

>> Friday, April 12, 2013

Physical growth spurts happen to many young people.  Our grandkids are one example!

For awhile they don't seem to eat much and don't appear to be growing.  Then all at once, they enter a growth spurt and they eat like a horse and it's almost like you can watch as they stretch taller and taller.  It seems to happen right before our eyes.  They are growing.

Our church mission:  Helping people become fully devoted followers of Christ requires that people grow in many ways.  It requires that people grow spiritually in their connection with Jesus Christ.  It requires that they grow in learning to obey God and following his leading in their lives.  It requires that we all learn to be more and more courageous.

As I've listened to several people who returned from our Haiti Mission trip in these last days, it seems to me that I am observing a spiritual growth spurt in these people.  You can almost watch them growing in their love of people, their courage and their understanding of the power of God.

On Wednesday I had the privilege to teach at Mom's Morning Out.  What an outstanding group of young moms and several mentors.  As I was interacting with them, I was reminded that raising young children at home can be a time of graduate level spiritual growth.  Classes in this time period include perseverance, lack of sleep, patience, gentleness, answering thousands of questions.  I thought I might be witnessing a spiritual growth spurt in these young women.

Just a question--are you growing these days?


Reflections on Easter

>> Friday, April 5, 2013

I'm writing this on the Friday following Easter Sunday.  After five days of reflecting upon our Easter celebration, I want to share 4 celebrations and brief thoughts--

1.  Jesus chose to go through such great suffering and pain because of love for His Father and for us.  John 10 17-18 says, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."

2.  Easter is the source of our hope and the foundation of our faith.  The more I've thought about this, the more convinced I become that all of our hope, for this life and the next, are found in this empty tomb.  This is the foundation of our faith and the empty grave upon which we stand.

3.  Orchard people care deeply about declaring and demonstrating this truth.  Our volunteerism on Easter week is through the roof.  People volunteer to care for children, set up chairs, park cars, pass out bulletins, pick up donuts, make coffee, practice and play music, greet at the doors and so many other things.  They do this because Christ has touched their hearts and they want to respond to such a great love.

4.  We have some amazing young people involved in our ministries.  The Maundy Thursday service was entirely led by college students who shared their testimonies, led worship, washed feet and served communion.  The music and the message was amazing.  Good Friday's two services at Nazareth were also absolutely touching.  The fourteen senior speakers shared vulnerably and  reflected upon the last seven words of Jesus.  More young musicians led us in worship.

It was a great week celebrating the most compelling event in all of world history.  This man conquered death and His Spirit lives.


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