“A Love Relationship with God”
In Experiencing God—Knowing and Doing the Will of God, the Discipleship Study course, we learned the 7 Realities of Experiencing God. Reality #1 - God is always at work around us.Reality #2 - God pursues a Love Relationship with us that is real and personal. Too often we fail to recognize God at work around us; we don’t see Him moving in our midst. God created us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to join Him in what He is already doing, especially in our churches and communities. For a lot of Christians, church is too often about us, what we are doing, or what we want or what we get out of worship. The prophet Micah asks, “what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?”(Micah 6:8) Just like Enoch “walked with God”, (Gen 24) God desires a closer relationship with His children.
God pursues a Love Relationship with His Children. Jesus said, “The Great Commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.”(Matt 22:37) But in order to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, to love Him with everything we have, there must first be a Relationship with Him. God pursues a Love Relationship with us, Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father, unless the Father draws them.” (John 4:44). God spoke directly to Moses from a burning bush saying, “I am the Great I AM.” (Exo 3) Jesus spoke to Paul on the Damascus road and said, “I am Jesus.”(Acts 9)Your relationship with God is more important than anything else, more important than whatever we are doing as a church or as individuals.
God pursues a Love Relationship with us that is Real and Personal. All religions have rules and regulations to which they adhere, and any religion has to obey its Law, but a relationship is formed out of Love. For God so Loved the world; me, you, us, them, everybody, that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to Die on an old Rugged Cross, so that whoever believes in Him should not die, but have everlasting Life. (John 3:16)The Word (God) became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) God became one of us, human. Now that’s Real! If you or I had been the only ones to have ever lived, Jesus would have still come and died on the Cross to save you and me from our Sins. That’s what makes it a Personal Relationship. He Died in MY place, He Died for ME!
Our Relationship with God also Determines our Fellowship with Him. God created us to have a relationship with Him, but He also desires fellowship with us. He wants to walk and talk with us every day, constantly. We, who are Sinners by Nature, yet Saved by the Grace of God, are invited into a personal relationship from which such sweet Fellowship can grow. However, rituals and traditions hinder our Fellowship. Programs, possessions, personalities, or playing church, even buildings, bulletins and budgets, can interfere with our Fellowship with God. Micah reminds us that it’s a daily walk with God. If your Relationship is right, you will always be in Fellowship with God.
God takes the initiative, He Chooses us, Loves us and Reveals His Purposes for our lives. You cannot know what God is doing unless He chooses to reveal Himself to you. You cannot stay where you are and go with God. Moses could not stay on the back side of the desert and go with God to the Promised Land. Paul could not stay in Jerusalem and go with the Gospel to all the world of Asia. Where are you in your personal Relationship with God? God’s Kingdom Plan, what He’s Doing in our world, depends on His Relationship with us.
Focus on Our Family
Flint Hill is enjoying their new pastor, Dr. Wayne Sellers and his wife Joy. They joined us in October. Flint Hill has become a member church with the Agape Center in Moneta. We also continue our ministry at the Bedford County Nursing Home the 3rd Sunday of each month, participate in the backpack program for Body Camp Elementary School, volunteer at the Agape Center each week, provided 64 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and provided either shoes or coats for 30 “angels” at Christmas. Flint Hill is excited about where God my lead in 2015!!
Hunting Creek: Lottie Moon Offering goal of $2,000 was exceeded by $876. Packed 517 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Twelve church members traveled to the processing center in Charlotte, NC, to help prepare the shoeboxes for shipment. Provided gifts for 58 angels on Angel Tree (children of food pantry clients). There was also a luncheon for these families. Delivered 38 food boxes in December. Children, K-4th grades, are participating in an Upward Sports Basketball league, a ministry of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Lynchburg.
Trinity collected $1,305 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Also, they collected $1,900 for Tents for Turkey, a mission to provide tents for Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey to escape ISIS terrorists.
Children are suffering all around the world. Their suffering can be the result of famine, tornadoes, earthquakes, wars, the economy, etc. Great loss in children’s lives at an early age can affect them for the rest of their lives. You can have the opportunity to be a vital part of helping children know someone cares and see the love of Jesus demonstrated.
Gleaning for the World, a Virginia-based non-profit, faith-based organization provides more than $30,000,000 worth of relief around the world annually. They have a special ministry called The Teddy Bear Brigade. This ministry offers a unique opportunity for churches and families who want to reach out beyond their walls to impact children eternally. In the last two years alone, they have provided more than 66,000 stuffed animals to needy children around the world.
Children process trauma differently than adults. When a child is given a teddy bear, it breaks the barrier that they may have. It’s a great tool to use to bring that person into an acceptance of someone being there for them. It lets them know that there is help and love from the faith community.
How can you and your church help? It’s easy—just collect new and “gently loved” stuffed animals. Gleaning for the World will clean the “gently loved” stuffed animals prior to shipping them out.
Donated items may be brought to the Strawberry Baptist Association by February 26, 2015 or you can call Kim Kirby at 540-330-8071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pick up at your church. I will make sure your items are taken to Gleaning for the World.
This year’s camp week is:
Registration is open to:
Children and Youth
This years musical is taken from the Old Testament and is entitled “KINGS, DREAMS & SCHEMES.”
A Place for You in WMU!
Women on Mission : Radford is leading weekly devotionals at Oakwood Manor in January, February, and March. Mount Olivet will host the February birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Diamond Hill will host it in March.
World Crafts Party
Established in 1996, WorldCrafts began with just one artisan group, Thai Country Trim, in Bangkla, Thailand. Today we work with dozens of artisan groups to import and sell hundreds of fine, handcrafted items from more than 30 countries around the globe. And we still work with Thai Country Trim, helping them employ more and more women at risk of abuse and exploitation. That’s who we are. Committed. Holistic. Fair trade.
We are committed to the in-country partners and artisan groups with whom we work. Our goal is to help create viable, fair employment for women and men in poverty.
We are holistic. Our artisan groups seek to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their workers. Men and women receive job training. Women find a safe haven as they leave the sex industry. Families and communities discover the abundant life.
We are fair trade. WorldCrafts abides by and requires all partnering artisan groups to abide by Fair Trade Federation guidelines. Artisans receive fair wages and goods are produced in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner.
Shopping combined with hope. Join us where compassion meets art. As Ann Brown, former WMUV president leads, we will discover the ancient traditions of talented WorldCrafts sm artisans around the globe, and learn about the exciting growth they experience even in the midst of the poverty around them.
To help you get an idea of the items that can be ordered, we have ordered catalogs (Fall/Winter) for each church, . By the time of the party, we will have Spring/Summer catalogs.
Lynne Stebbins, associational WMU secretary/treasurer, would like to thank the following churches for submitting their Annual Dues for 2014/2015: Bedford, Bethlehem, Hunting Creek, Mentow, Mount Hermon, Pecks, Quaker, Radford, Sedalia, Suck Spring, Thaxton, and Timber Ridge. If your WMU still needs to do this, checks, ($2.00 for each member of Women on Mission and adult leaders of age-level organizations) should be payable to Strawberry WMU and mailed to Lynne at 5644 Chestnut Fork Rd., Bedford 24523.
2014 ACP Summary
Feb 8 John Boyles (Mount Hermon)
Feb 14 Todd & Dana Childers (Norwood)
Church Ministry Anniversaries
Feb 2 Steve Parker (Interim Pastor/1 yr/Morgans
SBA’s Vision Statement: Due to our common faith in Jesus Christ and His body, the Church, we Commit ourselves to Connecting with one another for Coordinating the missions and ministries of our member churches and Communicating opportunities to partner together to fulfil the Great Commission and Great Commandment.
Happy is the person who walks so close to God that he leaves no room for the devil.
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Items for the next newsletter submitted by Tuesday, February 17.
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