September has always been a time of anticipation and excite-
ment for me. I grew up loving school, and September meant that school was about to start again. New teachers, new classes, new pencils, new schedules–it was all thrilling, even when it was also unnerving or even a bit scary. The start of the school year represented a chance to learn more, opportunities to try new things, to start over, if needed. So even if September means that summer, with all of its fun and freedom, was coming to an end, it also signaled the beginning of something wonderful. A new season offered a fresh start; it offered hope.
This September is different. Although I’m still involved in education with the online courses I teach, the start of the school year doesn’t bring the same sense of excitement and anticipation. The difference between an online course and a face-to-face course in a physical classroom may contribute a lot to that absent feeling. No, this September has brought with it a different source and a different sense of excitement for what is beginning.
First, one month into this continuing role with a new title, I have a deeper sense that God has his hand on me, on us, on this church. The growing awareness that God has called me to First Christian Church that began when my friend urged me to send my résumé to the church leadership has deepened into a settled conviction. I continue to be astounded that God has brought me to this place, to this task, to you. And I recognize that what God is building here is beyond the ability of any one of us to accomplish; in fact, it’s beyond the ability of all of us put together. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when you think about the magnitude of the needs waiting to be met. But I am increasingly confident that God is working in marvelous and mysterious ways to build his church. And that gives me hope.
Second (and this is intimately connected to the first point), Mary and I are entering into a new season as soon-to-be homeowners. The unexpected adventure that began with us considering the possibility of buying a home and moving to Lawrence exploded like a Kansas tornado and carried us with it. I felt like one of those guys in the movies that is walking along the mountain side when the ground suddenly gives way and the next thing you know, you are careening down the mountain, riding the avalanche and furiously looking around to make sure you’re still alive. In a little more than two jam-packed weeks, we went from casually looking at houses to see what was available and what we liked, to feverishly e-mailing scads of documents to agents, lenders, and realtors and emerging with an agreement to buy a house–for the first time in our lives. And though we are both occasionally overwhelmed at the prospect of paying for a house, we are also continually reminded that the same God who has proved faithful to us through forty-two years of marriage will continue to provide for all of our needs. His track record speaks for itself, and it gives me hope.
Hope is more than wishful thinking. Hope is the confident expectation of good yet to come from the hand of a God who has
promised, and who cannot lie, and who is more than able to do what he says he will do. The Scriptures lay out the record of God’s faithfulness, benevolence, and demonstrations of power. The history of the church presents numerous examples throughout the ages of times when God intervened to help his people in a new season. Our own experience of God’s love and mercy adds the “amen” to the biblical and historical testimony. And thus is hope born.
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:4-5, 13).
May your hearts be filled with genuine hope, as you continue in faith, persevering through every difficulty and looking to Jesus Christ and his word for encouragement, and finding his joy welling up within, as we walk together as followers of Christ in this new season.
From the Trustees
At our August 27 meeting the trustees reviewed the financial report for the period ending July 31, 2019. Consistent with previous months, contributions and other income are slightly exceeding expenditures for the year. I reported last month that a lightning strike had caused considerable damage to electronic components of several systems in the church. The costs for repairs and the settlement from insurance should be available in the August report when it is finalized.
Nick Williams is our new part-time custodian starting September 1. Nick also has part-time custodial duties at another church and will normally be starting his cleaning at FCC around 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The excessive rains we have had this summer were a continuous reminder that we have some serious roof issues that won’t go away. We are in the process of getting bids, determining which areas of the roof need attention first and also exploring options of how to finance the roof and other needed repairs. Preliminary estimates indicate that needed roof repairs
could exceed $100,000.
As we enter the month of September, we are reminded that 2020 is not far off and that means a budget needs to be formulated and adopted. We plan to complete the budget and present it to the congregation at the annual meeting in November. Members of the staff and leaders of the various ministries of the church will be involved in the budget process.
Jim Congrove, Trustee Chair
“O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter
from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.” ~Isaac Watts
August marks the end of summer vacation and the beginning of the school year for many. The Elder board is looking forward to a renewed season of God’s guidance and provision as He has so graciously done in our past and we continue to rely upon moving forward. While we have indeed weathered stormy blasts, both externally (tornadoes and torrential rain) and internally (conflict and division), we are returning
to God in a collective spirit of humility and repentance. We are seeing forgiveness work its way in the hearts of many and are so grateful. We are looking forward to starting a new season of growth and we raise our resounding hallelujahs to the Lord for Pastor Barry’s acceptance of the Senior Pastor position!
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will
make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like
the noonday sun.” Psalm 37: 5-6
The board met on Aug. 20th to pray and plan and discuss topics of congregational need. We were encouraged to be committed to bringing fellowship and communion to our homebound members and to be actively engaged in D-Groups. If you know of someone who is unable to attend worship and would like to be visited, or if you have any topics for D Group study, please let one of the Elders know. We also discussed staff changes, potential elder candidates, and the upcoming retreat. Our next meeting will take place on Tues., Sept. 17th.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Psalm 127:1
Whatever planning and visioning takes place at our meetings, it is vital to the life of our mission that we acknowledge God’s sovereignty and will over everything we do. We are working on establishing what our scripturally based purpose and mission is at FCC and what programs and missions to develop. Growing a youth program is one of the areas we have been particularly concerned with. In the last weekend of September, the Elders will be participating in a 2-day retreat to focus on and listen even more intently to God in order to plan accordingly to His design. We would like to thank
everyone for their prayers and words of support.
In His service,
Hyacinth Self, Elder Chair
SEPTEMBER has arrived! Just a few more shop-
ping weeks left before my birthday. :o)
FCC’s choir will resume rehearsals after Labor Day and look forward to honoring God and encouraging the church family with special music, old and new. I’m looking forward to integrating the choir’s presentations into our blended services. Those of us who work together to craft each worship service (with the supreme assistance of the Holy Spirit) are thrilled that there will be another element available!
Anyone who wishes to participate with the choir or the band should contact Greg or Judy. We’re pretty easy to find on stage each Sunday morning. Come join us as we praise the Lord, engage the people of God in worship, and prepare the way for the Word of God.
2 Chronicles 20:21 “…the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, sing-
ing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
‘Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!’”
Greg Boyle, Worship Pastor
Closing out our Summer series on the Fruit of the Spirit,
we found out how God helps us live in goodness, fight for
faithfulness, offer gentleness and make good decisions
through self-control. It’s been a great summer as we’ve enjoyed being together and learning how much God cares for us.
Summer can be a challenging time for children’s ministries with so many obligations and activities have people coming and going, but with volunteers willingly stepping in to fill
teaching positions, we persevered to have a productive summer!
Our kids need adults that step up and show Fruit of the Spirit like faithfulness and
kindness through the giving of their time and energy. Thank you volunteers!
This Fall, we are going to step into the adventures of the Old Testament and see how God created this wonderful world we live in. We’ll also see how He works through the people He created. It should be a fun and interesting September as God works through the believers at First Christian as we serve Him, each other and our community.
Children’s Ministry Leader
The Giving Tree Preschool
The halls and the classrooms of The Giving Tree have come to life over the last few weeks!
We have had a great start to our school year. The children are so excited when we open our door to start the day. They are busy making new friends, enjoying music and movement, making art projects, learning letters and numbers, exploring centers, and hearing daily Bible stories. We have children who are returning for another year of preschool as well as many new families joining us for the first time.
We continue to begin each day singing the song, “My God is So Big”. This song is a special part of the Giving Tree tradition that continues to bring smiles to the faces of our families. I am always humbled by the number of parents that remember singing this song when they attended the Giving Tree as a young child. I am proud to be part of a Christian preschool that continues to thrive and share God’s love for all
people within our community.
What a pleasure it is to be working alongside such wonderful Christian women. Thank you Ms. Donna, Ms. Mikayla, and Ms. Stephanie. We make a great team and each one of you have a special talent that enhances our curriculum. Your continued dedication creates a rewarding experience for each child in our care. Please be in prayer for a school year rich in academic, social, and spiritual growth. We truly appreciate the support of the FCC congregation.
We have a few openings available for the current
school year. Please contact us for more information.
Julie Hafenstine, The Giving Tree Preschool Director