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For the last number of months I've had a number of people ask how they could be praying for my family and for our church. I've told them that concerning our church they could pray for wisdom to know what to do and when to do it. Well, as I have been praying and seeking what the Lord would have for us as a church through the preaching "diet" and discipling of the saints (children's ministry, youth ministry, membership, baptism, leadership, community groups, etc...) I have increasingly been aware that prayer needs to come to the forefront of who we are as a church family and what we do as a church family.

I love Sundays; seeing one another, greeting one another, encouraging one another, worshipping our Lord together through song and the preached word...already can't wait for next Sunday! But it's certainly easy to forget the gospel throughout the week isn't it? It only takes a brief amount of time before our memory of what we were so encouraged and challenged by begins to drift. One of the purposes of this blog, beyond announcements and such, is the desire to spur the church on in Godward thoughts throughout the week. Lord willing, as this blog continues to become used by our body it will serve to be an encouragement and reminder of our hope in Christ th

Joy and I are five weeks away from celebrating our 25th anniversary. As we look back through those years we quickly recognize the faithfulness and steadfastness of God. One of the means that God has used to remind us of his faithfulness in our lives has been through Joy's pen (or keyboard). Joy had a blog called "Cross Reflections" for a number of years and it is in those blogposts that we now look back on and are able to recount God's faithfulness to us in not only his provision for us materially but his revelation to us of his character seen so beautifully at the cross. Every once in a while I will be posting one of Joy's posts from years past. I do this with the hope that all who read these posts will identify in some way with our struggle to trust God in the midst of the details of our lives and be encouraged and strengthened by the truth that Joy writes about.

Just another quick note to remind you that the make up date for the 3rd and 4th sessions of our Membership Meetings is tomorrow night (5/21) at 7pm (Bellbrook building). If this date doesn't work for you then we encourage you to register for the Saturday morning class on June 21. Please let Pastor Steve know if you are unable to make either date work.

We are so often blind to the work of God in our lives and tend to see only the areas needing drastic improvement. In reality, God is at work in each of his children and we need to become more aware of it, don't we?! Yes, we need to know about and grow in those areas needing improvement but we need to be more aware than ever of God's hand of grace in our lives.

Due to the possibility of severe weather tonight we decided to postpone the 3rd and 4th Sessions of our first membership meeting series. Bummer. I WANTED TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU!!! But it's better safe than sorry. And we can try to work around it by offering a few other options.

George Mueller, famous for his faith in God to provide for the many orphans he cared for, is said to have stayed in his time with the Lord each morning until his soul was happy in Jesus. Lamentations 3.23 tells us that God's mercies are new every morning because of His faithfulness. We are given a gift from God to start each day with joy in the morning. Not the kind of joy that is based on how we feel about the circumstances of the day but an inner joy that comes from being accepted by the Father through Christ's sacrifice for our sins and a trust in God's faithfulness.

Most of us have heard the story of the Prodigal Son from the time we were young. In this story (Luke 15:11ff) we actually read of two sons. One son was a proud and arrogant rule-breaker. The other was a proud and arrogant rule-keeper. They were both in danger of judgment for their idolatrous self-reliance and in need of mercy.

A reminder that tomorrow, May 4, 2014 will be our first "First Sunday." Come and enjoy worship in song and preaching tomorrow morning, communion together, and then after the service a shared meal together (not a potluck, just bring food like you would if you were going on a picnic).