Subscribe to the RSS Feed
  • Featured Posts
  • All Posts

Our first few sets of membership classes have been taken. Now it's time to take the next step. We need each adult to fill out their own questionnaire ASAP in preparation for our first ever MEMBERSHIP SUNDAY on September 14!

My name is Joy. It's actually my middle name; my first name is Elizabeth. There's a long story about how I came to be called Joy instead but suffice it to say I've been called Joy since the second grade. Joy is as fine a name as any other but there's something about it which I have found somewhat difficult to live with. Most names are just names, but my name carries with it a certain, presumed persona; my name suggests that I should be joyful. All...The...Time.

Ungodliness...does that define how you live? None of us would readily say that would we? But we must ask ourselves this question. Do we live the moments of our days with little to no thought of God? In the moments and details of our lives are we any different than our unbelieving neighbors and co-workers? Are we mindful of living in a manner worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:9-10) throughout the nitty gritty and tedium of our days (Col. 3:22-24)? Do we make plans without a thought of what the Lord would want (James 4:13-15)? I could keep asking questions to help us all process but I imagine all of us can feel our tendency towards ungodliness in our lives. It's worth thinking about. And it's worth mortifying (Rom. 8:13)!

The struggle is real. I hear this phrase quite a bit from my daughter who tells me it's a common saying among the "younger generation." I've heard it used as a comic narrative regarding things that don't really matter such as, "I can't decide what to wear...the struggle is real," but I have also heard it describe true struggles like, "I don't know what to do with my life...the struggle is real."

I've had the joy of being involved in leading student ministries for over two decades. Youth of all ages, of course, are very valuable and we as a church have the joy of telling them the "glorious deeds of the Lord..." (Psalm 78:4). This is why we have children's ministry at SGC. But this is also the main thrust behind our intention to have a student ministry (Jr. and Sr. High). Teenagers are in a very pivotal time of life and we must be diligent, as a church, to point them to Christ.

I recently awoke with a cloud hanging over my head. Ever had one of those days? You know, nothing is really different in your life and circumstances than the day before but your outlook today is dismal. That's how I felt as I awoke and all the little nagging concerns over a myriad of issues began to grow and threatened to blow my faith to bits.

I sit here in my office in Bellbrook, OH amazed and grateful as I consider the enormous sacrifice that men of the Allied Forces gave on that fateful day 70 years ago on the beaches of Normandy. No one doubts (save maybe a few) the importance of that landing in those days. We can read story after story outlining in brutal detail the gruesome task of taking the various beaches in France and the long, costly march to Berlin where victory was not inevitable but came nonetheless. We exist as free men and women today because of God's kind and restraining grace through the heroic and selfless acts of myriads of men and women from a number of countries.

I grew up in a state where fair skies were the norm, beautiful mountains could be hiked, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean enjoyed. While I certainly enjoyed all of those things, growing up in Southern California also quickly acquainted me with fear. I am sure that I would have been a fearful person no matter where I grew up but the uglier realities of living in Southern California increased my natural tendency to fear exponentially. Turn on the local news and, of course, you were inundated with news of rapes, kidnappings, murders, and even serial killers. But unfortunately there were even more "closer to home" examples as well. A woman in our church was stabbed and killed as she was taking her morning jog by a man who was casually jogging past her from the opposite direction. A guy from our youth group was killed by a gang on the beach. The examples were not all violence. My brother's best friend died in a car accident when he was a teenager. We visited one of my dad's friends in L.A. who went into a depression and lost everything when his wife left him (he was literally living at the park for quite some time as a homeless person). A young wife died of cancer (as did my mom). These people were professing Christians and this challenged my young hopes that God protected those that belonged to him. It was quite obvious to me that God "allowed bad things to happen to good people" and so I became even more fearful.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUTH CAMP! With the Youth Camp deadline right on us (or kinda even past...) we wanted to encourage teens and parents of teens to register for the Youth Camp in August one final time. This will be a fantastic time together and we want to take every possible hurdle out of your way so as many as possible can enjoy it. So, to that end we would like to provide scholarships if the registration cost is the hurdle your and your family have (which we totally understand).