I've always considered this to be a personal blog, not a ministry blog. However, student ministry is where God has placed me right now, so this is obviously a huge part of my life. I figured, why not start posting our student newsletters here? Kathy and I write these articles every month anyway, and there are probably few people who get to read them who aren't parents or friends within our church family. So without further ado, here is last month's...
Aloha Church of God Student Ministry Newsletter- September '08Several of our students made appearances this year at the Oregon/Southwest Washington Campmeeting in Brooks. Paul and Autumn Kelley were able spend the entire week on the grounds, while others came up for the Wednesday night service and throughout the week.
The main evangelist was T. Allen Bethel from the Maranatha Church in Portland. He spoke powerfully on this year's theme, "Stand Firm," based on I Corinthians 15:58. The highlight for many of our students was an intimate evening concert featuring former members of Christian rock bands Kutless and Falling Up.
Our annual August camping/ waterskiing trip was replaced this year by the Luis Palau Portland CityFest at Waterfront Park.
Prior to the event, thousands of volunteers signed up for the Season of Service, partnering with many different service agencies from all over Portland. Projects included free medical and dental clinics, homeless shelters, helping communities recovering from flooding, handing out clothes to the needy, and cleaning up neighborhoods, parks, and schools. Two of our own students, Michelle Vellone and Kaila George, gave of their time in an effort to be involved in these projects. CityFest was then a celebration of the Season of Service.
At the two day festival, August 22-23, there were performances by bands including Kutless, Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, Toby Mac, and Hawk Nelson (pictured above). Each evening Luis Palau brought a message of salvation and the need for Jesus Christ to live in our lives.
Hundreds of people came to know Jesus for the first time.
Garth was preaching on Philippians throughout August, so Kathy had the opportunity to teach during our student sessions. Amid the crazy games...
...and the shaving cream fights,
...we have been learning from the book of Hebrews how to get our "faith life" in shape. The summer Olympics provided relevant illustrations concerning the training athletes do and what we need to do to strengthen our walk with Christ. Athletes train, exercise, eat right, and practice to win at their sport. In the same way, we need to "train" by reading our Bible, praying and spending time with God. When we "eat right" we are aware of what we're feeding our minds. Is it wholesome and nutritious or is it causing us to stumble?
"Exercise" is disciplining yourself to spend time in the Word and praying, then gradually adding more time and regularity each day. "Practicing" is putting into action how Christ has called us to live. By doing all the above, we are strengthening our faith life in this race we are running toward the goal we are trying to reach. Just as Garth preached in his third sermon: "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13a-14).