Greetings from frigid Chicago!
Several months ago, we were invited to attend a celebration at Stone Church in Orland Park, IL as one of our “kids” was recognized for receiving his credentials with the Assemblies of God. It was our absolute joy to be there to witness this special day with him.
Michael was a shy boy and was reluctant to come into our children’s church. However, once he did, he never left. He accepted Jesus during one of our services, went from being one of our most engaged attenders to a very faithful junior leader, and then staying into adulthood. He was my sidekick. He was such a blessing to us as he was always the first one to show up and the last to leave. He was willing to do anything requested of him. It was during his service to the children’s ministry at Stone Church that he was called to become a Children’s Pastor. He is now the Children’s Pastor at Stone and currently attending (virtually) Northpoint Bible College.
Whenever he spoke to the congregation the day of his recognition, he thanked me for allowing him to be a part of our ministry and was thankful for all he “got” to do with us. His attitude – He “got” to do ministry. It was a privilege for him to set up chairs, take them down, run the sound board, media, and gradually worked his way in to skits, object lessons, worship, coaching Upward Basketball and the list goes on. What a blessing!
I am now continuing to mentor Michael, and it is my joy to see what God has done and is doing in His life. I am learning from him! Witnessing the transformation in his life has been one of my greatest blessings as a Pastor, and I am excited to see all that God will do through him as he continues to minister to His precious children.
Our heart as we continue to Engage kids is to make disciples to make disciples. A disciple is someone who wholeheartedly follows the leading of another and follows the teaching of God’s Word and THE teacher, Jesus Christ. Not only do they learn, but they put into practice what they have learned. That is what transpired in Michael’s life, and I want to be a part of seeing that repeated over and over and over again! As we continue to train leaders for ministry with children, that is my focus. We need to reach out and see our precious children come to know Jesus and then teach them what He has taught us!
We are to go and make disciples! (Matthew 28:18-19). That is the command. That is the call. That is the priority… Go and make disciples – Teaching others what He has taught us and living a life that reflects Christ in all things. This was so important to Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God, the only Son of God, the Sinless Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, that he uses some of His last minutes on earth to tell His disciples to go make disciples.
Not only are professing believers in Christ called to be disciples, but we are also called to make disciples. We are to become disciple makers, so they too will be passionate about presenting the gospel message and discipling the saved.
Here at Christmas, we are reminded how the wonderful truth of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a story of mission. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us!” How wonderful it would be if we as disciple makers got back to the true meaning of Christmas and intentionally ENGAGED our family, friends, neighbors, and His children with the gospel message as we dwell among them. Our prayer is that God will continually keep the flames burning in our hearts so that we may never lose the desire to teach the next generation about the baby who changed everything and the goodness of our good, good Father. We pray this is your desire too.
May His light shine brightly in your lives and in your homes this Christmas! Much love!
In September, Debbie’s Mom fell and broke her hip, and has been in a rehab facility for the last 3 months. She was discharged last week and is currently staying with a friend. Before the fall, she lived alone in Jacksonville, Florida, but was told by the medical staff that she had to make other plans as living alone was not an option. We were very aware of this and have been for a long while.
We have been in a whirlwind over the last few months as Debbie is the one that takes care of all her affairs, and she has been trying to care for her from Chicago. After much prayer, we sold her home and are currently preparing to move to Riverview, Florida and if all goes according to plan will be closing on a house the first of January. Debbie’s Mom will be moving in with us.
None of these decisions were made lightly, and we know that God has been with us each step of the way. It has been a difficult time – especially for Debbie, but we have peace that He is continuing to guide us on the best path for our lives. It would take more time than you would be willing to read to share how each piece of this process has fallen into perfect place, and how God has provided through unexpected sources to provide for this move. Florida is home, and we are excited to return.
Our ministry will continue as we are more passionate about children’s ministry than ever before. I am no where near ready to retire. There is too much to be done! We will continue our partnership with the leaders and churches we have been assisting in Illinois via zoom, conference calls and trips as needed to continue what has been in progress. We have been working recently with several churches that are re-igniting their children’s ministry and the excitement of the Pastors and leaders is contagious! We want to be a part of continuing to see these ministries flourish!! We are also excited to begin new partnerships with churches in Florida as we know there is lots to be accomplished for the kingdom there as well.
We covet your prayers as we make this transition and go from empty nesters to full time caregivers for our Mom. We know He will help us as we remain faithful to Him.
As always, your financial and prayer support means so much to us. Your generosity and prayer support are how we can do this much needed ministry. The longer we do it, the more we see that needs to be done. You remain in our prayers also as we thank God for you!