His Grand Scheme

Good morning,

The holidays are really sneaking up on me this year…I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that Thanksgiving is only a week away!

I wanted to share a bit more about our Grandparenting workshop that we will be having during the S.S. hour on 11/25 and 12/2.  We will be looking at the four roles that grandparents can play in the lives of their grandchildren.   We’ll also touch on some of the challenges that today’s grandparents face, from ever-changing technology to grandparenting from a distance. 

Now, some of you might be thinking “What can a guy whose kids aren’t even out of school yet know about grandparenting?”  That’s a good question!  Obviously, I am not yet a grandparent.  BUT I’ve been a grandson for over 44 years now, and I cannot emphasize enough how vital my grandparents were and continue to be in my life.

Some of you might also be thinking “Well, I’m not a grandparent, so this workshop really isn’t for me.”  I would suggest that isn’t the case at all.  Some of you are in my life stage…and you are the “gatekeeper” of your kids to your parents…there is a lot in this workshop that will be helpful.  Some of you are acting as “Grandma” or “Grandpa” to a younger person...there is a lot in this workshop that will be helpful.  If you simply want to have an impact on the next generation of believers…there is a lot in this workshop that will be helpful.

I hope you can join us during the SS hour on those 2 Sundays.  On the 25th we will gather in the sanctuary…and on the 2nd we will probably use the fire hall classroom due to the Cantata and fellowship meal. 

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.  Dress Rehearsal is at 9am on 12/1.

2.     West Earl Fire Company is holding a breakfast THIS SATURDAY, November 17 from 6-10 am. Great opportunity to fellowship with your neighbors and support the fire company!

3.      11/25 is “This is My Story” Sunday.  We will be hearing from members of our church family as they tell their story of how God has blessed their life.  I am still looking for 1 brave soul who would be willing to share their story.

4.     A couple of reminders:

a.      Please return any borrowed books back to the library in a timely manner. 

b.     Parents – please remind your children that the snack served between SS and the worship service should be enjoyed in the annex, not in the sanctuary (this goes for adults as well!).

5.      Save the Dates:

a.      11/25 & 12/2 – Sunday School Elective on Grandparenting. 

b.     12/2 – Annual Christmas Cantata and Fellowship Meal.

c.      12/24 – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 pm.

 This Sunday we will conclude our journey through the book of Nehemiah. With all the celebrating that the people of Jerusalem have done you might think that their revival lasted for generations, but that was not the case.  In fact, it took only 2 years or so before they completely returned to their old ways.  We will be looking at Nehemiah’s response to their backsliding and seeing why it is necessary to be constantly purifying our lives.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday!

 

Scott

A Fair Question

Good morning,

On Monday night Greg and I headed over to Conestoga Valley High School for the annual college fair.  The main gymnasium was filled with rows and rows of tables and stationed behind each table was a representative for a college.  Many of the colleges are located close by, but others are quite a distance away from Lancaster County (there were reps there from the University of Alabama and the University of South Carolina, for example).  Greg and I stopped and talked with the reps from the colleges that he might be interested in attending.

Some of the reps were very knowledgeable about their college.  They answered all our questions and added helpful information that we didn’t think to ask about.  They were also very excited to tell us about their college. 

Some of the reps, however, were a bit less helpful and a bit less excited.  Perhaps they were having a bad day, or something else was going on in their lives that was sort of distracting them, but they didn’t give a good impression about their school.

The experience got me thinking….

There really isn’t a Lancaster County church fair, (although that would admittedly be something that would be very interesting to attend) but in a very real sense we are all “reps” for our church.  What would your response be if someone asked you about Ebezener Church?  Would you be able to answer their questions?  Would you be excited to tell them about what is happening here at church?  How good of a “rep” would you be for the church?

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      There will be a Budget Meeting tonight, November 7th at 6:30 at the church.

2.     THIS SUNDAY, 11/11 is our Day of Giving.  We will once again be collect big cans of food for Stoneridge Retirement Home and small cans of food for CVCCS.  This will also be the morning that the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes are collected!  In addition to all of that, we will be taking a special offering (during our normal offering) to give to Mennonite Disaster Services for hurricane relief in the Florida panhandle.

3.      THIS SUNDAY is ALSO our annual Thanksgiving fellowship meal after the service.  Please bring your favorite dessert (homemade or from your favorite bakery) to share at the meal. 

4.     Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.

5.      West Earl Fire Company is holding a breakfast on November 17 from 6-10 am. Great opportunity to fellowship with your neighbors and support the fire company!

6.     11/25 is “This is My Story” Sunday.  We will be hearing from members of our church family as they tell their story of how God has blessed their life.  I am still looking for 1 brave soul who would be willing to share their story.

7.      A couple of reminders:

a.      Please return any borrowed books back to the library in a timely manner. 

b.     Parents – please remind your children that the snack served between SS and the worship service should be enjoyed in the annex, not in the sanctuary (this goes for adults as well!).

8.     Save the Dates:

a.      11/25 & 12/2 – Sunday School Elective on Grandparenting. 

b.     12/2 – Annual Christmas Cantata and Fellowship Meal.

c.      12/24 – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 pm.

 Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 11 & 12, although we will be focusing mainly on 11:1-2.  At this point in the story of Nehemiah the city of Jerusalem is in pretty good shape.  The walls are rebuilt, the gates are in place and the temple is ready to hold daily worship services again.  Only one thing is missing – the people!  We will be taking a deep dive into Nehemiah’s plan to repopulate Jerusalem and discuss why that was so important.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday!

 

Scott

It's the busiest time of the church year!

Good morning,

There is A LOT happening over the coming weeks and months at Ebenezer…and we need some help to make everything happen.  Please read through the announcements and see where you can connect!

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      TONIGHT – Ebenezer At Home - There will be an organizational/training meeting from 6:30 -7:30 in the annex for anyone interested being a part of the visitation team.  I’ll be sharing some thoughts on what to do (and what to avoid) during a visit and talking about how to respond to delicate situations when visiting someone.

2.     Joanne Swords-Wang would like to meet with the kids after the worship service on Sunday to go over the songs they’ll be a part of for the Christmas Cantata.

3.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.

4.     Harvest Fest prep work continues this Thursday night from 6:30-8pm.  The big event is on 10/25.  We could use a few more folks to help out on the 25th with running the games.

5.      We are also collecting candy for the Harvest Fest.  You can place it next to our usual food collection box for CVCCS.

6.     We are designating, Sunday 11/11 as a Day of Giving.  We will once again be collect big cans of food for Stoneridge Retirement Home and small cans of food for CVCCS.  This will also be the morning that the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes are collected!  We will begin collecting these items on 10/28.  In addition to all of that, we will be taking a special offering (during our normal offering) to give to Mennonite Disaster Services for hurricane relief in the Florida panhandle.

7.      11/11 is ALSO our annual Thanksgiving fellowship meal after the service.  Please bring your favorite dessert (homemade or from your favorite bakery) to share at the meal.  Our kitchen committee has a number of members who are dealing with some health issues.  We REALLY need some help with this meal and the fellowship meal after the Cantata on 12/2.  If you are able and willing to help please see Elaine Quigley.

8.     We are in need of some additional ushers for 2019.  Please see Eric Echternach or Barry Imhoff if you would be willing to usher.

9.     Our ongoing need for nursery workers is getting to a critical point.  The Ministry Council has approved hiring some PT nursery workers for two Sundays a month starting in 2019.  We hope that this will be a temporary situation.  We will be advertising the positions on the LBC job board to start our search.

Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 8.  The walls of the Jerusalem have been restored, but the people still need to experience restoration in their relationship with God.  We’ll be looking at how Nehemiah leads them through that process. 

We are planning a very celebratory service on Sunday, with lots of opportunities to offer praise to God!  Come ready to sing, come ready to smile, and come ready to celebrate our awesome and mighty Lord.  You won’t want to miss this service, and don’t forget to invite a friend!

 

Scott

A Few Thoughts On Music...

Good morning,

You’ve probably noticed I have introduced quite a few new songs to our worship services over the past few weeks and months.  Here at Ebenezer we sort of have an established “tradition” of the pastor choosing the final song of the worship service.  I thought I would take a moment to share some of my thoughts that guide my selection process.

The first thing I strive to do is to pick a song with words that fit with that morning’s message.  I view that time as a way for the congregation to respond to the message that I believe God has for us that morning.  I will often read through the lyrics of multiple songs and prayerfully consider which one I believe will best help us affirm God’s calling to us.

I also consider the tempo and music of the song.  Is it upbeat and celebratory, or is it more quiet and reflective?  What music best reflects of the “mood” of the morning?

Lastly, I look at what we have sung recently in our worship services.  It is tough to balance singing a song frequently enough that it is familiar to us and infrequently enough that it is memorable when we sing!  If you would look at the music for our worship services over the past couple of years, you would find that most mornings we sing a hymn, an older praise song or two, and a more contemporary praise song or two.  I think our worship committee does a great job of finding the right balance!

So, that’s roughly my thinking, although I’ll admit that my personal preferences can’t help but come into play as well.  Whenever I do choose a new song, I’ll try to continue to have the lyrics printed on the bulletin insert, so if it isn’t familiar you can read along as we sing.  I know that following a new song from the screen up front can be a bit challenging.

Here at Ebenezer we have a blended worship service, one that continues to cherish the hymns of the faith while also recognizing that God is still gifting men and women to write and play moving works that allow us to express our faith and gratitude to God in song.  I trust that we will continue to have such a worship service for a long time to come…long enough that “Diamonds” by Hawk Nelson is one day considered an old song!

And although I can’t say for sure what song I will pick this week…I’m pretty sure it is going to have something to with Victory in Jesus!

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.

2.     Harvest Fest prep work begins this Thursday night from 6:30-8pm.  The big event is on 10/25.  We are also collecting candy for the Harvest Fest.  You can place it next to our usual food collection box for CVCCS.

3.      Worship Committee meeting this Thursday at 6:30 pm.

4.     Sunday, 10/7 is a Communion Sunday.

5.      On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

6.     Ministry Council Meeting on Tuesday, 10/9.

7.      Congregational Life Commission Meeting on Tuesday, 10/16.

8.     Ebenezer At Home - There will be an organizational/training meeting on Wednesday, October 17 from 6:30 -7:30 in the annex for anyone interested being a part of the visitation team.  I’ll be sharing some thoughts on what to do (and what to avoid) during a visit and talking about how to respond to delicate situations when visiting someone.

9.     It’s Operation Christmas Child time again…we will be collect shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse on November 11.

 Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 5.  Nehemiah is faced with another challenge as he seeks to lead the rebuild of Jerusalem.  The poor of the land are being oppressed…by their own people.  We’ll be looking at how he handles the situation and learning what God expects of us in similar circumstances.

Scott

Praying for Our Schools

Good morning,

This morning was “See You At the Pole” day at our schools.  This is a national initiative that calls for students to meet around the flag pole before school for a time a worship and prayer.  Several such gatherings happened at Conestoga Valley schools today.  This is a great reminder that just as the students, parents, and teachers are praying for their schools, we should be praying for them!

This seems like a great time to highlight some pretty awesome things that are happening in our local public schools:

Bible Adventure – This ministry (formerly called Released Time) happens during the school day.  We, of course, host the Brownstown Elementary group.  A number of “Ebenezer” kids come to Bible Adventure.

Bible2School – Similar to Bible Adventure, this ministry also meets during the school day.  There is Bible2School groups meeting at Smoketown Elementary.

Good News Clubs – This is another elementary school ministry.  Good News Clubs meet after school at Leola, Fritz, and Smoketown.

All-Pro Dads/iMoms – This is a before-school breakfast ministry that encourages kids and their parents to connect at a deeper level.  It is what I call “covertly Christian,” meaning that although Scripture isn’t quoted during the gatherings, the principles discussed are very much Biblically-based.  Breakfasts are held monthly at every elementary school in CV!

I have personally served in all of these ministries (except Bible2School) at one time or another and can confidently say that they are all doing great work.  Trent goes to Bible2School at Smoketown and loves it.

But wait, there’s more!

FCS – This is a before school gathering at CV Middle School.  FCS meets every Thursday morning.  It is completely student-led!  Talk to Abby to learn more about FCS.

FOCUS – This is the student-led evangelical Christian club at CV High School.  FOCUS meets before school on Friday mornings and is very active in the High School.  Greg can tell you about all that is happening in FOCUS.

Let’s be in prayer for all of these groups and especially for their leaders.  Being an evangelical ministry at a public school has its challenges (although CV is more accommodating than most), and all of these groups deal with some obstacles as they seek to proclaim the name of Jesus and the truth that the Bible is the Word of God!

Here’s what’s happening…we have officially hit the fall “busy season”:

1.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata starts up THIS MONDAY, October 1st at 7pm.

2.     Harvest Fest prep work will be on Thursday night’s from 6:30-8pm beginning NEXT WEEK on 10/4.  The big event is on 10/25.

3.      Worship Committee meeting on 10/4 at 6:30 pm.

4.     Sunday, 10/7 is a Communion Sunday.

5.      On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

6.     Ministry Council Meeting on Tuesday, 10/9.

7.      Congregational Life Commission Meeting on Tuesday, 10/16.

8.     Ebenezer At Home - There will be an organizational/training meeting on Wednesday, October 17 from 6:30 -7:30 in the annex for anyone interested being a part of the visitation team.  I’ll be sharing some thoughts on what to do (and what to avoid) during a visit and talking about how to respond to delicate situations when visiting someone.

 Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 4.  The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem is rolling along, but not without some significant challenges for Nehemiah to deal with.  If you know of someone who is facing a rebuild in life and is feeling frustrated and defeated (or is “sick and tired of being sick and tired”), this week would be an awesome week for you to invite them to join you at Ebenezer.

Scott

Helping Folks Flourish After Florence

Good morning,

Well, the remnants of Hurricane Florence have come and gone.  Thankfully, the feared predictions of heavy rains did not happen in Lancaster County.  I was even able to mow the lawn Tuesday night!

However, there has been a lot of damage in the Carolinas from the storm.  The cleanup has started as the waters have begun to recede.  This Sunday we will take a special offering to help those affected by the storm.  Any gifts received will be given to Mennonite Disaster Services, which is headquartered here in Lancaster.  We have given to MDS before, and while there are many good relief organizations out there, MDS is one of the absolute best in my opinion. 

There is also the possibility of one or two of our fellow E.C. churches sending a work team to the Carolinas in the next couple of months.  If that happens, we will provide an opportunity to support that work as well.

As always, if at all possible please write a separate check or place your gift in a separate envelope marked “MDS.”  It is much easier for the offering counters when you do that, and we want to make sure that MDS gets all the given funds.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.     Sunday, 10/7 is a Communion Sunday.

2.     Harvest Fest prep work will be on Thursday night’s from 6:30-8pm beginning on 10/4.  The big event is on 10/25.

3.     On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

4.     Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata starts up on Monday, October 1st at 7pm.

5.     Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services has two openings – a ministry coordinator position at their Lebanon office and an administrative assistant position at the Columbia location.  If you or someone you know might be interested…go to www.svps.org.

 This week we will be looking at Nehemiah 3.  If you are doing one of those “read through the Bible in a year” plans, this is one of those chapters that many folks sort of gloss over.  It’s a list of all the people who helped lead the rebuilding of the walls.   It’s full of a lot of hard to pronounce names, and on the surface there would seem to be little we can learn from it.  If we dig a bit deeper, however, I think there is actually a whole lot for us in chapter 3!  If you know of someone who is struggling with guilt over past sins, I would encourage you to invite them to join you on Sunday!

Scott

Keys to the Kingdom

Good morning,

A somewhat significant change is in the works in regard to the security of our church building.  At the last Ministry Council meeting we discussed and approved having the locks to the outside doors of the church building be “rekeyed” and in some cases upgraded.  Thankfully, it appears that we will not have to modify the older wooden doors to do this. 

So why are we doing this?  There are a few reasons.  Currently there are 3 different keys to the outside doors of the church.  Rekeying will allow us to have 1 key for all the doors, which will eliminate some hassle.  But the main reason we are doing it is because of building security.  Like in many churches, keys to the church have been given out to whoever needed one at the time.  Some of those folks still attend Ebenezer, but others have moved on to other churches and may or have may not turned their keys back in.  Additionally, we have had other groups and churches use our building regularly, and keys have been made for those groups.  Some (not all, but some) of those groups made additional copies of the keys for their folks.

All of this is concerning in that we have no way of knowing exactly who has a key to the church.  It’s unfortunate, but in 2018 this is an issue.  I wish it wasn’t the case.  When I was growing up Memorial UMC was never locked.  But that changed after some teenagers snuck in and ransacked the downstairs (thankfully they didn’t touch the sanctuary).

So, here’s the plan.  Once the locks have been rekeyed (the date hasn’t been set yet), we’ll distribute a new key to the active church members who need one.   When we do that we are going to mark down the key # on a list so we have a record of who has one.  That way, if there ever is an issue, we know who has a key.

I hope there is never an issue where we need to check the “key list,” but we do want to be good stewards of the building that God has blessed us with.  If anyone has a question or concern about this feel free to see me.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.     Please be in prayer for the Bible Adventure program that starts up this tomorrow (Thursday).  We are expecting another huge group of kids this year!

2.     There will be a brief meeting after church THIS SUNDAY, 9/16 in the annex to introduce our new visitation ministry “Ebenezer At Home.”  This meeting is for anyone who might be interested in being a part of the ministry and visiting our at-home church members.  Coming to the meeting DOES NOT mean that you are committing to the ministry, it is just for informational purposes!  We will be done by about 11:45.

3.     On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

4.     Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata starts up on Monday, October 1st at 7pm.

5.     To be put on your calendars – Harvest Fest this year is on October 25.

 This week we will be looking at Nehemiah 2 and how he starts the monumental rebuilding project that God calls him to lead.  If you have someone in your life that is facing a rebuild in life and doesn’t know how to get started, this would be a great week to invite them to join you at Ebenezer.  If you missed last week’s sermon, I would encourage you to get caught up by listening to it from our website.

Scott

Nehemiah - The Man with a Plan

Good afternoon,

Thanks to everyone who gave diapers, baby wipes, and all the other baby essentials for Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services.  They were beyond thrilled when I dropped everything off this morning!  What a tremendous blessing to be able to partner with SVPS as they share the love of Christ to single moms.

This Sunday we begin our fall (even though we are in the middle of a heat wave) sermon series on the book of Nehemiah and our focus for this Sunday will be the idea of having a purpose in life.  I have found that the lack of purpose is the cause for a lot of discontentment and strife in the world today.  Many people, especially young people, just don’t seem to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning and just sort of go through the motions of life.  This lack of purpose can lead to all sort of dangerous paths.

But here’s the deal – it’s not just the young people that struggle with the lack of purpose!  In fact, one of the stages of life that the struggle is the most real is right after a person retires!  If you know of someone who is struggling with finding their purpose in life, this Sunday would be a great opportunity to invite them to worship with us at Ebenezer.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.     We now have a TV and DVD player in the nursery to use when it is time for the little ones to take a break (or for the workers to have a break!).  We could use some DVD’s to keep in the nursery. 

2.     Bible Adventure (formerly Released Time) starts back on Thursday, September 13.

3.     There will be a brief meeting after church on Sunday, 9/16 in the annex to introduce our new visitation ministry “Ebenezer At Home.”  This meeting is for anyone who might be interested in being a part of the ministry and visiting our at-home church members.  Coming to the meeting DOES NOT mean that you are committing to the ministry, it is just for informational purposes!  We will be done by about 11:45.

4.     On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

5.     To be put on your calendars – Harvest Fest this year is on October 25.

6.     We found 3 rings downstairs in kitchen this week.  If they are yours and you can identify the country of origin of the stones in them, please see me.

Looking forward to cooler temperatures,

Scott

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Good afternoon,

As you have undoubtedly noticed, this summer has brought a tremendous amount of rain and humidity to Lancaster County, and it has caused some real issues for people.  There has been lots of flooding and property damage.  Sinkholes have opened up all over, including a major one at Tanger Outlets.  The most recent ramifications of all this moisture has been the discovery of mold at Smoketown Elementary and, as of last night (Monday), mold at Brownstown Elementary as well.

This is not the start of the school year that anyone at Conestoga Valley would have wanted, as both elementary schools are now delayed in starting the school year.  The presence of mold in these schools is causing massive disruptions to lives of the teachers, administrators and support staff, and has caused a lot of headaches for parents as well.

I want to let you know that I have reached out to Dr. Graybill (Principal at Brownstown) to offer our support and prayers and asked him to let me know if there is something that Ebenezer can do to support the school during chaotic time.  If there is a need, I will certainly pass it along.

Last week I asked you to join me in praying for our schools and our students…this week I’m going to ask for continued prayers!

Here’s what’s happening:

1.      Ministry Council Meeting this Monday, August 27 at 6:30pm at the church.

2.      Congregational Life Committee Meeting this Wednesday, August 29 at 6:30pm at the church.

3.      Bible Adventure (formerly Released Time) starts back on Thursday, September 13.

4.      Adult SS Classes resume on Sunday, 9/9.

5.      We are collecting diapers, wipes, and other baby items through Labor Day weekend in support of Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services.  Thanks to everyone who had already donated, the table in the sanctuary is quite full! 

I invite you to read 2 John this week in preparation for Sunday morning.  Last week I advised wearing steel-tipped shoes to the service, but this week your best pair of “walking” shoes will do just fine!!

Scott

 

 

Back to School

Good morning,

Two weeks of Rawlinsville Camp Meeting have come and gone.  Thanks again to everyone for being so understanding of my need to be there so much this year.  Without going into too much detail, God allowed for Camp Meeting to be full of leadership challenges but also moved in a mighty way.  21 children and 5 youth accepted Jesus as their Savior at Rawlinsville and many adults were encouraged and strengthened in their faith!

This coming Tuesday morning the “big yellow fellow” will once again come down Jarvis Road and Mary & I will send three children off to school.  This moment will be repeated throughout Conestoga Valley and numerous other school districts and private schools. Home schoolers will also be resuming their studies. 

The beginning of the school year always triggers an emotional response from me, because each year marks another year of my kids’ growing up.  Greg is a Junior at CVHS this year (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??), which means that this is the second-to-last “First Day of School” that we have with him.

Like many parents, I worry about my kids when they are at school.  Not about their education (CV is great school district), but about their hearts.  As many of you know, school can be a place where tender hearts are wounded, scarred, and even crushed.  Our kids and grandkids deal with things in schools today that we couldn’t have fathomed a generation ago.

And yet, our schools are simply a reflection of our culture.  If we are going to help our kids and grandkids to be “in the world but not of the world” (as we studied a few weeks ago), then we need to come alongside them and help them be the young men and women that God wants them to be.  We also need to be in constant prayer for them!

I’ll be spending some time in prayer for our schools on Tuesday.  I hope that you will join me.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.      Thanks to Elaine Quigley for cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen pantry downstairs.  It was a needed job and it looks great!

2.      This week is “Back to School” Sunday.  We will be having a special time of prayer for all those returning to school (teachers, support staff, students, etc…). 

3.      Back to school also means that the return of Released Time is also approaching.  Released Time has been given a new name – Bible Adventure Club.  If anyone is interested in helping please see me, we are always looking for more volunteers.  Last year we had over 90 kids come each week!  Bible Adventure meets weekly on Thursdays.  For volunteers the time commitment is from about 1:30 – 3:30 pm.

4.      Thanks to everyone to helped us have another successful summer lunch program! 

I invite you to read 1 John 5:1-5 this week in preparation for Sunday morning.  Although I hope to deliver the morning message with grace and compassion, you might want to wear your steel-tipped shoes.  Trust me, I’ll be stepping on my own toes more than anyone else’s!

Scott

Back In the Saddle

Good morning,
I am back in the saddle this week after a wonderful family trip to Acadia National Park in Maine.  Thanks to Neil Deibler for speaking on 7/8 and to Charlie Szasz and Ed Strausser for the “running the show” while I was away!
Our time in Maine was a reminder of God’s amazing creation.  We saw whales, seals, porpoises, deer, about a million small red squirrels and so many different birds and sea creatures that I couldn’t possibly remember the names to them all.  We saw the sun rise from the top of a mountain and returned at night to see more stars than I have ever seen before.  We saw the tide rise and fall 12-14 feet each day.  We walked across temporary land bridges.  We saw many spots were God told the sea “that’s as far as you go.”
While in Maine I thought of the passage found in Job 38-39 where God reminds Job that He and He alone is the Creator of all things.  What an amazing God we serve!
Two other passages also came to mind during our time in Maine:
Psalm 96:11-12 “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
Psalm 104:24-25 “How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.”
Here’s what’s happening:
We are in our annual “summer lull” here are Ebenezer.  I trust that everyone is able to recharge their ministry batteries over the next few weeks:
1.    We have new sidewalks!  The company that we contracted with to replace our new sidewalks wasn’t scheduled to come until the fall, but they decided to bump up our project in their schedule.  Thanks to Dave Ressler for coordinating the work.
2.    The Summer Lunch program continues here at Ebenezer on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 11:30am – 12:30pm.  Free lunches are served to all children who come!
3.    Camp Meeting Season is quickly approaching.  Rosedale Camp Grove begins on Sunday, July 29 at 6:30pm with their opening service and continues each day through Friday, August 3rd.  Rawlinsville Camp Meeting begins Monday, July 30th at 7:30 pm and continues each day through Sunday, August 12th. 

This Sunday we begin our summer sermon series on the Letters of John.  These 3 small books found in the back of the New Testament are often overlooked, but they were critical to the protection and growth of the fledgling early church.  I’ve titled this series “Authentic Christianity.”  I’m afraid it isn’t a very original title, pastors often use it when preaching a sermon series from one of the New Testament Epistles because they all contain instructions for genuine Christian living.

I invite you to read 1 John 1:1-10 this week.  John and his brother James were famously given the nickname “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus and we’ll see why within the first few verses of this letter!

Scott
 

Christians as Citizens

Good morning,

I cannot recall a time in my life when there was as much anger and vitriol in our society as there is today.  Now, I was born in 1974, so perhaps some of you may think otherwise about that, but I think we can all agree that “we the people” are angry.  And yet no one seems to be able to agree as to what to do about it.

So, we see violent protests and demonstrations.  We see property being damaged indiscriminately.  We see our supposed leaders shouting at one another and over one another and resorting to name calling, labelling, demonizing their opponents, and casting blame everywhere else.  I’m certainly not blaming any one group or individual person, because it is EVERYWHERE, including those who would proclaim Jesus Christ as their Savior.

I loathe politics. Aside from encouraging people to vote (but never how they should vote), I very rarely talk political things on a Sunday morning, because I believe the focus of our worship service should always be on praising God and celebrating our victory in Jesus.  Yet I also feel compelled as your pastor to provide some guidance on how I believe God wants Christians to behave publicly as citizens.  So, this Sunday during the Sunday School hour we will be looking at Paul’s instructions to Titus about this very topic (found in Titus 3).  Titus was trying to minister on the island of Crete, in a culture that has some striking similarities to ours.  I believe this short passage has much to teach us!

If the Sunday School hour isn’t a typical part of your Sunday morning at Ebenezer, I would invite you to make an exception on Sunday and join us.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.       We will be celebrating Holy Communion together this Sunday.  We will also be dedicating a new pulpit in honor and memory of Barry Zimmerman.

2.      Weekly announcement emails will once again be a bit more sporadic over the next few of weeks, as my family enjoys our summer vacation and Rawlinsville Camp Meeting.

3.      Speaking of vacationing, I will be out of the office from 7/5- 7/15 as we pack up the minivan and head out for a week in Maine.  If there is a pastoral emergency while I am away, please contact a member of our PRC (Ed Strausser, Charlie Szasz, & Cathy Ressler).  Pastor Joel Kime from Faith E.C. Church is available in such a situation.

4.      Upcoming Guest Speakers:  Neil Deibler on 7/8 and Marysue Ruth from Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services on 7/15.

5.      Camp Meeting Season is quickly approaching.  Rosedale Camp Grove begins on Sunday, July 29 at 6:30pm with their opening service and continues each day through Friday, August 3rd.  Rawlinsville Camp Meeting begins Monday, July 30th at 7:30 pm and continues each day through Sunday, August 12th.

This Sunday we conclude our sermon series on Esther.  I trust you’ve enjoyed our journey through one of the wildest stories in the Bible!  Appropriately enough, our focus on Sunday will be celebrating.  What should we be celebrating?  Why should we be celebrating? How should we be celebrating?  How often should we be celebrating?  We will be answering those questions and more!  It’s going to be a wonderful morning, I hope to see you!

Scott

Recapping VBS

Good morning,

Instead of trying to recap all that happened last week, here is:

VBS by the Numbers

52 – The total number of kids who came to at least one night of VBS this year.

21 – The number of kids who came all five nights of VBS.

40 – The number of kids who do not regularly attend Ebenezer.  What a tremendous outreach!

40+ - The number of volunteers during VBS week.  Thank you!  We couldn’t do it without you!

897 – The number of dollars given for our VBS Missions project.  Thank you!  Randy and Chris Amberman greatly appreciate your gifts!

1 – The number of nights Pastor Scott lost his voice during the opening.  I’m glad VBS is only one week!

4 – The number of awesome murals that were painted by the kids during craft time.

1 – The number of nights the tech wasn’t working.  Thanks for scrambling and getting it going again Lloyd!

5 – The number of nights of beautiful weather during VBS.  THANK YOU LORD!

80+ - The approximate number of “people hours” that it took to create and hang all the church decorations for VBS.  Thank you to everyone who helped!

3 – The number of confused children who actually thought we were going to have chow chow pizza on Friday night.  I mean, we are in PA Dutch country, I guess it’s a possibility!

Immeasurable – Both the kingdom impact and blessings that come from a great week of VBS.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.       Ministry Council Meeting this Tuesday at 6:30 pm at the church.

2.      Sunday 7/1 is a Communion Sunday.

3.      We collected $947 at the auction during the church picnic.  Thank you!  We will be using those funds for sidewalk repair.

4.      Ladies – If you would like an official “Ebenezer” pen, please let me know.  I had no idea how popular they were going to be!

This Sunday, as we are looking at the events of the first half of Esther chapter 9.  Passages with violence in them like this one can be uncomfortable for some and can even keep people from trusting in Jesus.   If you of someone who feels like this, please invite them to join you on Sunday.  I’m going to (try to) address those concerns and give a strong invitation to receive Jesus as Lord!

Scott

Happy (Complicated) Holidays!

Good morning,

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make our church picnic a success this year…and let’s pray that we will be able to be back in the park next year!

You’ve probably noticed that we’ve celebrated holidays at Ebenezer a little differently than we have in the past.  With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on holidays and worship services. 

Let me begin by saying that there isn’t a “right” and “wrong” way for churches to celebrate our national holidays like Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, and so on.  Every church and every pastor plans services a little differently, and that’s OK!

What I have found in my time in ministry is that almost every holiday evokes some different reactions from people.  Some folks, for example, love to celebrate Mother’s Day, while others just try to get through the day.  Almost everyone has a holiday or two that are just…complicated.  I do too! 

Because of this reality, some churches have stopped celebrating holidays altogether (except for Easter and Christmas, of course).  While I understand their reasoning, I think its’ better to have balance be the goal – keeping the focus of the worship service on God and celebrating “Victory in Jesus,” while also acknowledging whatever occasion it happens to be.  Finding that balance is not easy, and I imagine that we’ll continue to find our way. 

So if Father’s Day is a complicated day for you…I want you to join us on Sunday.  We’ll have a special prayer for fathers and a couple of other fun ways to honor the men in our lives, but the focus of our time together will be on worshiping our Heavenly Father.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.       VBS Week is in full swing!  We have about 42 kids coming to the church each night!  I encourage you to swing by the church during the evening this week to check out all the action!  We could use a few extra “support” folks on Thursday and Friday nights!  I can’t stop using exclamation points!

2.      Our VBS Missions project this year is support Randy and Chris Amberman, who are missionaries to the Navajo people out in New Mexico.  We are collecting money throughout the week to help pay for some new playground equipment at their ministry center.  If you would like to contribute, please place your gift in the offering plate this week and mark it “Amberman.”  As always, please use a separate envelope or check if at all possible.

3.      Thanks to everyone who checked their directory information on Sunday.  We are off to a great start in updating it!   If you didn’t get a chance to do so, please check it this week to make sure we have the correct information for you.

4.      We will be “de-decorating” the church on Monday night from 6:30 – 8 pm.  We could really use some extra hands to do so.

I hope that you can join us this Sunday, as we are looking at the events of Esther 8 and discussing what it looks like to wait upon the Lord.  If you know of someone who is really struggling with being patient in the midst of a trial, please invite them to join you on Sunday.  I think that they will find our time to be very encouraging!

Scott

Recapping National Conference

Good morning,

Last week Cathy Ressler (our lay delegate) and I attended the 2018 National Conference for the E.C. Church.  What exactly happens at a National Conference?  Glad you asked!

The National Conference is an annual gathering of all the pastors and church leaders of E.C., which is the denomination that Ebenezer is a part of.  It is a time of worship services, business meetings, elections, and vision casting.  New pastor candidates are approved and stationed, and elections are held to fill positions within the larger E.C. body.  For example, this year Rev. Ted Rathman was elected to oversee E.C. Global Missions.

The highlight of the National Conference for me is the annual Episcopal Address, which is a fancy term for our Bishop giving a State of the Union-type speech.  Our Bishop, Rev. Bruce Hill, gave what I felt was a very direct, bold, and challenging report as to the challenges the E.C. faces as a denomination as well as what “victories” we can celebrate.  Copies of this address will be placed at our typical “information” spots in the sanctuary. 

I appreciated Bishop Hill’s frankness about where things stand within our denomination and look forward to hearing more and more about his vision for the future of the E.C.  I strongly believe we have the right man for the job in place!  BUT plotting a course for the future is not just the work of the Bishop!  We all have a role to play in making sure that our church continues to have Kingdom impact for generations to come.

I encourage you to grab a copy of the Episcopal Address and read it.  To pique your interest, I’ll end with this quote from Bishop Hill:

“People wonder how we have time to “do church” when we consider all the other things we have to do? But that question is coming from a mistaken perspective. It’s not about how we “do church.” The question is whether or not I am committed to “be church” every day and everywhere; not just on Sunday in a building with a steeple on it.”

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. It is VBS registration time.  The registration portal is open and active on the website.  It’s easy to fill out. PLEASE encourage your grandkids, neighbors, nieces, nephews, etc…to preregister!
  2. VBS Decorating on Thursday and Friday this week from 6:30 – 8 pm.
  3. Church Picnic Items:

1.       Sunday, June 10 at 10 am at West Earl Community Park (please note the earlier start time).

2.      Sign up board to bring food is posted in the sanctuary.

3.      We will be having the silent auction once again.  Please see Kristi Berry if you have something you would like to donate to the auction.  Auction items should be brought to the church by Thursday this week.  You can put them in my office for safe keeping.

4.      We are hoping to update the church directory this summer.  Bob Spade will be taking pictures for it at the church picnic if you would like an updated one to be in it.  We will also be asking everyone to check their directory information and make any corrections at the picnic.

5.      Back by popular demand, we will once again be playing “Trash to Treasure” Bingo this year.

5.  We are still in need of a choir director for the fall.  Please see me or Deb Frey if you are interested.

Enjoy the week, I hope to see everyone on Sunday at our 1o am Church Picnic that starts at 10 am!  Just a reminder, we are starting earlier than usual – at 10 am!

Scott

P.S. – 10 am!

Quick Notes

Good morning,

A brief email this week as I have the E.C. National Conference starting tomorrow through Friday.  On Sunday we will be studying Esther 7.  I encourage you to read that chapter in anticipation of our time together.  Our focus on Sunday will be on how God wants us to deal with enemies.  If you know of someone who has a family member, neighbor, coworker, etc… who seems to seek out conflict with them and make life difficult for them this Sunday would be a great week to have them join us.

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. It is VBS registration time.  The registration portal is open and active on the website.  It’s easy to fill out. PLEASE encourage your grandkids, neighbors, nieces, nephews, etc…to preregister!
  2. VBS Decorating on Thursday from 6:30 – 8 pm.  It continues each Thursday night until VBS on June 11-15.
  3. Sunday School will begin the summer schedule THIS SUNDAY.  There will be one adult class meeting in the annex.  This summer’s study is based the book “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado.
  4. Church Picnic Items:

          1. Sunday, June 10 at 10 am at West Earl Community Park.

          2. Sign up board to bring food is posted in the sanctuary.

          3. We will be having the silent auction once again.  Please see Kristi Berry if you have something you would like to donate to the auction.  Auction items should be brought to the church this week if at all possible.  You can put them in my office for safe keeping.

          4. We are hoping to update the church directory this summer.  Bob Spade will be taking pictures for it at the church picnic if you would like an updated one to be in it.  We will also be asking everyone to check their directory information and make any corrections at the picnic.

      5.  We are still in need of a choir director for the fall.  Please see me or Deb Frey if you are interested.

Enjoy the week, I hope to see everyone on Sunday!

Scott

Announcement Overload

Good morning,

I can’t believe that Memorial Day is upon us.  May seems to go by quicker and quicker each year.  I hope that you are able to celebrate and enjoy the good weather that seems to be on tap for the weekend.  Take a few moments as well to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in service of our country.  There is A LOT happening over the next few weeks, please take some time to read over everything below!

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. It is VBS registration time.  The registration portal is open and active on the website.  It’s easy to fill out. PLEASE encourage your grandkids, neighbors, nieces, nephews, etc…to preregister!
  2. It is “Child Clearance Update” time once again.  Everyone who has had clearances done in the past is still good to go.  However, if you haven’t had them done, please see me ASAP.
  3. VBS Decorating tomorrow from 6:30 – 8 pm.  It continues each Thursday night until VBS on June 11-15.
  4. Sunday School will begin the summer schedule on June 3rd.  There will be one adult class meeting in the annex.  This summer’s study is based the book “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado.
  5. Church Picnic Items:

1.       Sunday, June 10 at 10 am at West Earl Community Park (please note the earlier start time).

2.      Sign up board to bring food is posted in the sanctuary.

3.      We will be having the silent auction once again.  Please see Kristi Berry if you have something you would like to donate to the auction.

4.      We are hoping to update the church directory this summer.  Bob Spade will be taking pictures for it at the church picnic if you would like an updated one to be in it.  We will also be asking everyone to check their directory information and make any corrections at the picnic.

  1. The E.C. National Conference is May 30th – June 1st.  I will not be in the office on those days.
  2. We are still in need of a choir director for the fall.  Please see me or Deb Frey if you are interested.
  3. St. David's EC Church of Dover is sponsoring a bus trip to the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC on Friday, July 13, 2018. They are looking for some folks who might be interested to go along. The bus will leave from St. David's parking lot at 8:00 AM and return around 6:00 PM. The total cost is $65.00 and covers the cost of transportation and admission to the museum. Meals are on your own.  Make your reservations by calling the church office at 717-764-0033.
  4. CVCCS has put out a plea for more volunteer help over the summer months.  Volunteers are needed to serve during daytime hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at CVCCS. If interested, please go to www.cvccs.org to fill out a volunteer application.
  5. The upstairs ladies bathroom is getting a makeover.  Thanks to the 9:15 class for heading up the renovations.  Special thanks to Ed Strausser and Fred Quigley for the many man-hours they are putting in this week.

This Sunday finds us in Esther 6, as the downfall of Haman begins.  Do you know of someone who is feeling discouraged in life, perhaps because it feels like nothing they do is ever rewarded?  If so, I would encourage you to invite them to join us on Sunday!  My hope and prayer is that all of us will leave the worship service on Sunday feeling equipped and encouraged!

Scott

Something Old, Something New

Good morning,

You may have noticed that there is a certain “pattern” to my sermon series.  I strive to get us into both the Old and New Testaments each year.  In the past year we’ve had series on the O.T. prophets, the parables of Jesus, O.T. prophecies about the birth of Jesus, the Gospel of Mark, and now we are in the middle of a series on Esther.  Spoiler Alert – we are going to be in the letters of John in July and August and then in Nehemiah in the fall!

Now, every pastor sets up their preaching calendar a little differently.  Some like to “jump around” in the Bible and not really use a series at all.  Others will spend much of an entire year on one book of the Bible.  Some will preach much more from the New Testament than the Old Testament.

Recently a minor “kerfuffle” arose in the pastor “world” when popular pastor and writer Andy Stanley preached that the time had come for Christians to “unhitch” themselves from the Old Testament.  He supported his argument by suggesting that Peter, James, and Paul had done so.  Many prominent Christians have questioned Stanley’s comments on social media, and he has since sought to publicly clarify what he meant and reaffirmed his commitment to the Old Testament. 

So why should we study the Old Testament when we are living under the New Covenant?  Glad you asked!

The Old Testament lays the foundation for the teachings and events in the New Testament.  It shows us why we need a Savior.  It contains countless lessons for us to apply to our lives today.  It helps us understand prophecy.  It contains wonderful poetry that inspires and encourages.  But most importantly – it is inspired by God!  Jesus refers to passages in the Old Testament throughout the Gospels, and the other New Testament writes do as well.  In fact, when Paul writes to Timothy that all scripture is God-breathed, it’s the books of the Old Testament that he is referring to!

Here at Ebenezer, we believe that all Scripture is God-breathed.  The Bible…the whole Bible…is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God.  So, we will continue to preach and teach from both the New and Old Testaments, and I encourage you to include both in your personal devotions.  AND, if you do come across a troubling passage in the Old Testament, feel free to ask me about it.  I can’t promise that I’ll have an answer, but I can promise that we’ll look for one together!

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. We really need some more volunteers for the Junior Worship ministry.  Each Sunday morning the Junior Worship time consists of a Bible Story and then some sort of activity (craft/game/etc..).  Our hope is to “pair” people up who are gifted in different areas.  If you would be willing to lead a short Bible lesson or lead the group in an activity about 1 Sunday a month please see me or Beth Ressler.
  2. It is VBS registration time.  The registration portal is open and active on the website.  It’s easy to fill out. PLEASE encourage your grandkids, neighbors, nieces, nephews, etc…to preregister!
  3. It is “Child Clearance Update” time once again.  Everyone who has had clearances done in the past is still good to go.  However, if you haven’t had them done, please see me ASAP.
  4. VBS Decorating tomorrow from 6:30 – 8 pm.  It continues each Thursday night until VBS on June 11-15.
  5. The annual church picnic at West Earl Community Park is Sunday, June 10 at 10 am.  Sign up board to bring food is posted in the sanctuary.
  6. The E.C. National Conference is May 30th – June 1st.  I will not be in the office on those days.

This Sunday the action really picks up in our series on Esther as we look at the events of Esther 5 and discuss one of those “respectable sins” – the sin of pride.  As always, I encourage you to invite someone to join you at Ebenezer this Sunday!

Scott

Helping Moms

Good morning,

About 10 years ago our family underwent a major transition.  Through a series of events and opportunities I found myself becoming a stay-at-home dad.  Around the same time, the country music group Lonestar’s song “Mr. Mom” was a big hit.  You might remember the lyrics:

Lost my job, came home mad, Got a hug and kiss and that's too bad.
She said “I can go to work until you find another job.”
I thought “I like the sound of that! Watch TV and take long naps!”
Go from a hand working dad to being Mr. Mom

I have to admit, I sort of thought that is what it would be like to!  What a fool!!!!  It wasn’t long (about 2 ½ minutes) until I realized that I had not had a clue as to what Mary’s life was like when I was working and she was at home.  I had assumed it was one thing, and it turned out to something entirely different.

One of things that men can do that drives their wives absolutely nuts is to act like we know what it is like to walk in their shoes.  Guys, trust me on this – we don’t.  It is important that we understand (and communicate that we understand) how important the work of our wives is to us and to our family.  When we turn to Ephesians 5 we are reminded that we men are to love our wives, and one of the most powerful ways that we can do that is to show her that we appreciate her and are deeply grateful for all that she does each day.

How can we do that?  Here are a few suggestions:

-          Ask her how her day was BEFORE talking about your day.  Ask if she has had any downtime, and if not, make sure she gets some.

-          Take the kids for a walk/bike ride/playground trip etc…

-          Do the dishes and clear the dining table.

-          Give her a chance to go out for lunch or dinner with a couple of friends

-          Plan a date night.  Take care of ALL of the details (babysitting, reservations, etc…)

Of course, one the best ways to show that we appreciate the jobs that our wives to is to actually do it ourselves once in a while!  Encourage your wife to get away for an overnight or a weekend and then run the home like she does.  No cheating by sending the kids to grandma’s or ordering out for each meal!

The comedian Jeff Foxworthy (I know I am on a country theme here, bear with me) once said something to the effect that women do 99% of the housework and men do 1%.  “But see, women are not as proud of their 99% as men are of our one!” 

Guys, lets make sure that statement isn’t true of us, and let’s make sure our wives know how proud we are of the work they do.  “A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies” – Proverbs 31:10

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. We really need some more volunteers for the Junior Worship ministry.  Each Sunday morning the Junior Worship time consists of a Bible Story and then some sort of activity (craft/game/etc..).  Our hope is to “pair” people up who are gifted in different areas.  If you would be willing to lead a short Bible lesson or lead the group in an activity about 1 Sunday a month please see me or Beth Ressler.
  2. If you would like to be a part of our prayer chains (either via email or phone) please let me know this week, as we will be updating our lists.
  3. It is “Child Clearance Update” time once again.  Everyone who has had clearances done in the past is still good to go.  However, if you haven’t had them done, please see me ASAP.
  4. VBS Decorating will start up tomorrow from 6:30 – 8 pm and continue each Thursday night until VBS on June 11-15.
  5. The annual church picnic at West Earl Community Park is Sunday, June 10 at 10 am.  Sign up board to bring food is posted in the sanctuary.
  6. The E.C. National Conference is May 30th – June 1st.  I will not be in the office on those days.
  7. The Hispanic Church that meets here is hosting a Chicken BBQ at the church on Saturday from 10 am- 1pm.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday!  We will be celebrating Mother’s Day in a couple of different ways and will be looking at Esther’s brave decision to serve God.  I encourage you to read Esther 4 this week.  Mother’s Day is always a great Sunday to invite friends to join you in worship!

Vision Update

Good morning,
Three months ago, we had a congregational meeting to discuss where God might be leading us as a church family.  A big part of that meeting was laying out a series of ministry goals that we wanted to start to implement.  Then I visited with each of the Sunday School classes for a time of discussion.
So, what we been working on since then?  Plenty!  However, just like our current sermon series of Esther, a lot of what we have been doing has been “behind the scenes.”


We held a very meaningful prayer vigil during Holy Week.  We have begun to update and create job descriptions for our volunteer positions.  We purchased new microphones for the worship services and also purchased a second earpiece microphone.  We put together welcome bags for visitors on Easter Morning.  A meeting has been scheduled to discuss Junior Worship.  The 9:15 class purchased Bibles for us to give to others in honor of Barry Zimmerman.

I’ll continue to give some periodic updates as to what is happening “behind the scenes” at Ebenezer.  We look forward to seeing more and more visible works of an invisible God happening in our midst!

Here’s what’s happening:
1.    Evangelical Theology Seminary turns 65 in 2018.  They have requested that all E.C. churches consider giving a “gift” in celebration.  We will be taking a love offering on Sunday, May 6th in support of the seminary.  If you would like to contribute, please note your contribution for “Evangelical Seminary” in a separate envelope or using a separate check.
2.    There will be a VBS Meeting on Tuesday, May 8 at 6:30 pm at the church.  This meeting is for ALL who are planning to help with VBS this year.  Registration for VBS is now LIVE on the church website.
3.    There will be a meeting for all the folks involved in the Junior Worship ministry on Sunday, May 6th during the Sunday School hour.  We will be discussing the ministry to determine if any “tweaks” are needed and also planning the summer schedule.  WE COULD USE A FEW MORE VOLUNTEERS!  If you at all interested please come to the meeting to learn more about this important ministry.
4.    If you would like to be a part of our prayer chains (either via email or phone) please let me know in the next week or so, as we will be updating our lists.
5.    It is “Child Clearance Update” time once again.  Everyone that has had clearances done in the past is still good to go!  However, if you haven’t had them done before, please see me ASAP.
6.    Making decorations for VBS will start up on next Thursday, May 10 at from 6:30 – 8pm at the church and continue each Thursday night leading up to VBS.

Every epic story has a nasty villain and on Sunday we meet Mordecai and Esther’s nemesis, a wicked man named Haman.  I encourage you to read Esther 3 in preparation for Sunday!