I am sort of weary. Watching the events unfold in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend made me so sad, again. It’s not a sadness born out of a certain political view. As your pastor, I’m firmly committed to not convoluting the gospel with political opinion.
Racial hatred transcends politics. Racism’s destruction is in the core of the gospel (read Galatians and Ephesians). Throughout my lifetime I’ve seen so much racial hate. I was a child when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. It is a terribly vivid memory. I’ve watched so much racial hatred in our culture acted out over and over. And I hate it.
Every time a terrible act like this happens, I want to think “this incident will be the wake-up call our culture needs and everyone will come to their senses and things will get better.”
Yet, things aren’t better.
Advocacy is good. It is right to clearly call the white supremacy movement evil. Speaking out against any form of bigotry and racism is simply right and good. And I believe there is an even greater good -- I believe that our best chance for washing away every form of hatred is the love found in the gospel. This is not a platitude. I’m describing a radical love poured out of the One who is Love. The gospel is the source of a kind of love that is willing to die for another.
The gospel is that God so loved us that He gave His Son, Jesus, to die a death that actually transforms our hearts. The answer is God’s love poured out upon us, and that same love lived out radically through us towards everyone.
The gospel offers me the ultimate truth that there is nothing about me that makes me superior to any other soul. You and I have been created in the image of God -- and so has every other soul on this planet. And we are called to deeply love the image of God in each one of them no matter what.
I am sort of weary, but it’s passing. Because the gospel promises a supernatural kind of love produced in me; because the gospel tells me that love cannot fail; because the gospel guarantees that love will outlast and ultimately swallow up hate.
"But now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” - 1 Corinthians 13:13
"Preschool ministry is extremely important. Should we fail our young children, the church will suffer and so will we."
My name is Dave Meeler and while I’m no expert, I simply hope to share what I have learned regarding ministry in the past 29 years.
My wife Gloria and I have been members of Bear Creek for 18 years. We have three adult children and four grandchildren. For six years I have served with the preschool ministry both as a volunteer and staff.
The preschool ministry at Bear Creek is extraordinary. It is a huge blessing to families and all the staff and volunteers. So, what makes me so sure of this? Why are the lives of our children important to God?
The Bible refers to children 42 times. So, I would conclude that children are very important to God and should be to us, too, as parents and teachers.
The Bible gives us specific instructions and commands regarding children. We are told how important they are and instructed to teach them about the love of God. This is obvious in scriptures such as Deuteronomy 4:9-10, 6:5-9 and 11:9, Psalm 127:3, Proverbs 22:6 and 23:13-14. Many more examples can be found in God’s Word.
At our preschool ministry here at Bear Creek, we lovingly teach of God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the word of God, the Bible. We also faithfully make it a point to introduce Scripture to all the children. Many of our teachers have previous preschool and childcare experience, whether as parents themselves or as workers of our Mother's Day Out program. Bear Creek's preschool ministry not only serves children but also their families.
With that said, I want to share some reminders and tips for parents and preschool/children volunteers:
At Bear Creek, we instill all the above and more. It is a huge blessing to be a part of the preschool ministry here. For example, the “I missed you Mr. Dave”, the wonderful hugs the children give when you arrive at class, the “Thank you so much!” you get from parents and others, are truly incomparable. Remember, we are called to minister to all people starting with our young people, whom are most important because they are the future church.
If you have a heart for the Lord and children, the preschool ministry at Bear Creek Church is for you. We are currently in search of additional help on Sunday mornings and even have a few part time positions available. If you would like more information about our Preschool Ministry at Bear Creek or have further questions click here or call (281) 859-9900.
I was born with a mole on my left cheek, commonly referred to as a “beauty mark.” Once I hit my teenage years I had made it a point to get that mole removed. I had forgotten all about that beauty mark until last week in my quiet time when these words came through my inbox from Christian author and speaker, Ann Voskamp:
“Every day we get to decide, do we mar the world or mark the world? We don’t know when and how we are leaving the greatest marks on the world. It all matters. The only way we ever leave beauty marks on the world is with bits of yourself – and this will hurt.”
And I thought about our team of 25 working now in the Dominican Republic, giving themselves away and leaving bits of themselves behind - beauty marks on the world.
They will leave the beauty mark of love as they give the gift of their time and their hearts to people they don’t know, bringing the good news of the love of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it.
They will leave the beauty mark of compassion and justice as they seek to help feed those who are hungry and reach out to those who are orphaned. This compassion will be evidenced as they labor to build the second floor of a small Christian school in a small community - with this school being the only light for the gospel. They will leave the beauty mark of encouragement as they minister to those who have given their lives to work in these orphanages and schools.
There is no doubt they will leave many other marks than these. And they will be marked in return by their experiences while there, but that is their story to tell. Please pray with me for our team. They have gone where God has called them, not for their glory, but for His. They have taken their “little cup of resources to an ocean of need.” And God will make it enough. And He will be glorified as they leave beauty marks on that side of the world.
During Vacation Bible School, one of our leaders decided to literally make his students “Jesus seekers.” He asked one of us as staff to hide a plastic Jesus figurine somewhere in the building so his class of 6 and 7 year-olds could seek and find Jesus each day.
When it was my turn to hide the toy, I placed it behind a case of CDs, then watched as a wide-eyed child exclaimed excitedly, “I see him!”
I must admit I felt like that child many times during our galactic adventure this year as I watched God show up in miraculous ways.
Our journey began back in January of this year. As our children’s team began planning, we honestly didn’t know what Vacation Bible School would look like this year. Finances were different, many of our faithful volunteers had returned to work full time and could no longer help, and the school calendar meant no time to prep our beloved skit team.
However, one by one we watched as the Lord blessed despite these obstacles.
Where finances had been limited, He provided a generous donation.
Where volunteers seemed scarce, He sent dads and college students to make up the difference.
Where timing eliminated the possibility of daily live skits, He provided in the form of videos.
During the three years that I have had the privilege of directing Vacation Bible School at Bear Creek Church, the Lord has continued to open my eyes to His faithfulness and to His grace. He knows exactly what we need to reach boys and girls for Him – and He provides it year after year.
So, on the Sunday of our VBS Celebration as I stood at the finish line for our epic adventure and listened to Pastor David share the stats from our week: 52 salvations, 250 volunteers, $3,677 donated for missions, one thought bubbled up in my soul: “I see Him!”
Anyone who has spent anytime with preschoolers knows what a precious age this is to nurture and create a foundation of faith. Never again does innocence and truth reconcile so completely as it does during these years. A child believes and accepts Jesus as the truth and the way because we tell them so; they share the gospel and Jesus' love almost carelessly, in the most beautiful way.
Preschoolers aren't just parrots repeating and regurgitating what they're told; they are sponges soaking in all they observe around them. We owe this generation a legion of leaders who will cultivate that fragile trait of telling the world around them that Jesus is real and He is the way to salvation (or in preschool words, "Jesus is the best!") which comes out so effortlessly at this age. Preschoolers change the world. They touch the people closest to them with their imaginations and excitement and inspire us to do better, BE better. We would be foolish to discount them as too small to make a difference in His kingdom.
In fact, we could all take a page from our tiny counterparts and share the gospel with childlike faith: like no one could possibly discount it, like it is the most important story to be told - because it truly is.
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