Youth Conference 2016
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
From September 25-28, we held our first FIMC of Madison youth conference. Churches from all over Mississippi were invited to attend. Based on Jeremiah 1:5. When asking our youth pastor how he came upon the idea to have a conference, this was his reply: “I was in my office praying and just being quite. I felt the Lord was speaking to me about doing a conference. I was totally pumped! I have been waiting to do something like this, but didn’t want to just have one without the Lord having control of it. I was totally excited to gather young men to preach for the conference. Everything fell right in line with God’s will for this conference. The Lord made the path straight by bringing these men of God to preach, and lead worship for these four services.” Here are the message titles God laid on their hearts with our theme, On Purpose.
Josh Wilfong came all the way down from Fredericktown, MO to lead us in worship and WoW the Lord used him in a huge way. Playing his guitar and singing he did a magnificent job allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us with a heart ready for worship and the receiving of God’s Word. Thank you Josh!
Justin Sawyer of Hattiesburg, MS kicked it off for us Sunday the 25th. His message was titled Pursue Purpose. Using Jeremiah as a young person who felt he was too young for God’s purpose, Justin emphasized his point when he said, “Our life is not just looking for a purpose but in searching for it through Jesus Christ!
Ven Tripi Madison, MS reminded us in his message, Wake Up Your Purpose of the force behind our purpose. Using Ephesians 2:10 Ven reminded us to grow our focus in the purpose God has given us. Without growth the enemy will try to keep us from God’s purpose. Remember the enemy has been defeated and cannot keep us from God’s will and purpose. Pastor Ryan said this was one of the best sermons he’s heard in a long time.
Jake Korokis, Kosciusko, MS used the story of Daniel and the lions Den to teach us that Patience Has Purpose (Daniel 6:11KJV). Jake challenged our students like they have never been challenged before. The altar was full! God was moving in their hearts.
Ryan Sawyer, FIMC Youth Pastor, Madison, MS spoke Wednesday night on The Progress of Your Purpose” the whole idea of the message was to tell the students not the let the places they start dictate where they finish! Wednesday the altars were filled once again!
Fifteen youth accepted the challenges that were given. Several students have said this conference was a much needed blessing. “Kinda like going to church camp and getting fired up for the Lord,” one youth said. Another student sent me (Ryan) a text after the last night. He said “I want to seek his purpose for my life and follow it.” PTL
God is about to do some great things in the lives of our students. We are not going to stop until we see the Lord. The response to the conference has been a huge blessing! Most, if not all, asked if we were going to do this next year. The Answer is a resounding, “YES!” Pastor Ryan said he is already looking forward to it!
Josh was a true blessing. Worship was fantastic and was as important as the speakers. This conference had the Lord all over it; here’s why. The four preachers and the worship leader were given the theme, On Purpose. When the conference came to an end, the five discussed the services. It was amazing how God used each one to magnify and continue what the previous speaker had spoken on purpose. They didn’t plan it that way—God did. The Holy Spirit worked all the messages together, as one for the Lord’s purpose.
Can’t wait till next year!
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19, 20
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6: 3-6
In becoming a part of our church family we hope that God will touch your life in the same way He has touched so many of ours. Come and worship side-by-side. You are valued by the Lord; He has a purpose for you. He has placed within you special gifts and He longs for you to use them. As your family we would love to see you grow within your gifts for then we all can receive a blessing.
Welcome to our church family,
We’re glad that you could come.
We’re honored to share this day with you
As we worship God’s risen Son
We are glad to have you in our family!
“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” 1 John 3:13
ROSEBURG, Ore., Oct 1 (Reuters) – A gunman stalked onto an Oregon college campus on Thursday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding seven before police shot him to death, authorities said, in yet another burst of U.S. gun violence that ranked as the deadliest this year. Stacy Boylan , the father of an 18-year-old student who was wounded but survived by playing dead, told CNN his daughter recounted her professor being shot point blank as the assailant stormed into the classroom. The massacre in Roseburg, a former timber town on the western edge of the Cascades some 260 miles (420 km) south of Portland, was the latest in a flurry of lethal U.S. mass shootings in recent years.
I have checked many articles on this shooting. There seems to be a consensus that the authorities are “working to find” the shooters motive. Nine people die, many are wounded and the authorities don’t seem to be listening, even to those who were in the room with the shooter. I believe they don’t want to know, or perhaps do not want to tell the truth.
ROSEBURG, Ore. (Associated Press) — The grandmother of one of the Oregon shooting victims says her granddaughter told her the gunman was singling out students who said they were Christian. Janet Willis told The Associated Press her granddaughter, Anastasia Boylan, was in the classroom when the shooter opened fire Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. Willis, who visited her granddaughter in the hospital, says Boylan told her the shooter was asking students about their faith. “If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head . . .”
I don’t know about you, but it seems the Oregon shooters motive was very clear—kill Christians. The gunman came prepared to kill as many who follow our Lord as possible. These brave young people stood their ground and sacrificed their lives because they believed in the grace Jesus had provided them by his redemption on the cross. This day they stood and announced, I am a Christian and took a bullet the head causing instantaneous death.
Did you hear what the student, who was wounded and in the hospital, said? I’ll repeat it for you. The “ . . . shooter was asking students about their faith. If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head . . .”
Several weeks ago our congregation stood in orange t-shirts that stated “I STAND WITH CHRISTIANS. The purpose was to show unity as a congregation to stand with those who have given their lives in the face of those who hate us simply because of our faith—simply because, like no other god, we follow the one and only living God who loves us. So many have died in the last few years because they love their Jesus. We take our stand, as a congregation, with other Christians.
Unlike when we are worshiping in our congregation, we are sometimes alone, and without the support of others. We are at a point where we face a personal decision. Such is the case at Umpqua (UHMP’-kwah) Community College. Others stood and watched as friends and classmates were murdered announcing their personal decision, knowing they would be asked next and understanding the consequence. If you stand in a place where you know you were going to die, simply because you are a Christian, I propose this question: When it is your turn to answer, how will you respond to the shooters demand, Are you a Christian? Now is your time. You have choice to make, life or certain death? It is your decision . . . only you can make it.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. – John 15:18-19
Shall we go a step further and ask, will you STAND for Jesus? Have you given your life to Christ? These young people knew Him personally and announced their decision in the face of death. They were killed, but are now alive in Christ Jesus for eternity.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (1Peter 4:14, 16)
The Bible tells us that we are all dead in our sins and trespasses until we get saved and born again by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior – These young people at Umpqua were forgiven children of God. If you do not know Christ as your personal Savior would you determine today to give your life and heart to him? All you have to do is pray this simple prayer, with a sincere heart, and He will come to you:
I now believe that Jesus Christ is Your only begotten Son, that He came to earth in the flesh and died on the cross to take away all of my sins. I believe that your son Jesus Christ then rose from the dead on the third day to give me this eternal life.
Lord Jesus, I confess to You all of the wrong and sinful things that I have ever done in my life. I ask that You please forgive me and wash away all of my sins by the blood that You have personally shed for me on the cross. I am ready to accept You as my personal Lord and Savior. I ask that You come into my life and live with me for all of eternity.
Thank You Jesus, I now believe that I am truly saved and born again. Amen.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8)
Sinner’s Prayer adopted from:
It was probably her giggling that drew my attention. Sentence diagramming really wasn’t all that funny as far as I knew.
It was early May and I was facing a class of sixteen inner-city kids in South Central Los Angeles. Though I had almost three years of teaching under my belt, this particular sixth grade class had pushed me to the limits of my patience far too many times, and I was more than ready to wave goodbye to them for the summer.
I had come a long way from the idealism of my first year of teaching and living in the inner city. That first year I’d covered up the bullet hole in the window with an inspirational poster. I’d plastered the walls with pictures of places worlds removed from the industrial buildings across the street. I told the kids daily that they had something worth saying and that I could help them say it. Together we would work hard and make something of their lives.
The problem, of course, was that my ideals kept crashing up against reality. Not just the spirit-deadening reality of the inner city — gang pressures, poverty, drug-destroyed families. I was also up against the basic, universal reality of the twelve- and thirteen-year-old mind. A mind with the switch tuned in almost permanently to the channel called “You can’t make me!”
And now I was faced with a giggle when I should have had only rapt attention. Walking over to the young offender, I asked for the note she had in her hands. Frozen, she refused to give it to me. I waited, all attention in the room on the quiet battle between teacher and student. When she finally handed it over she mumbled, “Okay, but I didn’t draw it,” the first clue that this wasn’t just an ordinary note being passed.
After getting the class going on a sentence diagramming competition, I finally had a chance to sneak a peek. It was a hand-drawn picture of me, dress details down to perfection, teeth blackened, nostrils flaring, and the words “I’m stupid” coming out of my mouth. The artist had done an amazing job and there was no doubt about who it was supposed to be.
I managed to fold up the picture calmly and return to directing the competition. My mind, however, was working furiously as I wavered between wanting to cry and wanting to ream a certain few students up one side and down the next. I figured I knew the two most likely candidates for drawing the picture. It would do them some good to get taken down a notch or two, and maybe it was high time that I did it!
Thankfully, that’s when Grace intervened.
Somehow, in those moments of very real hurt and fury, God was able to save me (and my students) from myself, by asking me very softly, “You want to do it your way, or My Way?”
I’d had almost three years of mostly trying to do it my way, and my head and my heart were really beginning to hurt from pounding against so many little twelve- and thirteen-year-old walls of resistance.
“Okay, Lord,” I silently prayed, “what should I do? How can you ever bring good out of this?”
With loving faithfulness, God showed me.
When there were about six minutes of class remaining I had the kids stop what they were doing and get out a piece of paper. Then, suppressing my pride, I showed them the picture. The whole class was silent as I told them how hurtful this was for me. Struggling not to cry, I told them there must be a reason behind why someone would draw such a picture and that now was their chance to tell me anything they needed to tell me. Then I let them write silently while I sniffled in the back of the classroom.
As I looked over the notes later, many of them said something like, “I’ve got nothing against you,” or “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt.” A number of them said, “You give us too much homework.” One student said, “We’re afraid of you.” And two notes, from the girls I figured were behind the picture, had a list of issues. I was too mean, too strict, and I picked on certain people too much.
Reading those notes, I realized that over the course of this year of slipshod work and incomplete assignments I had moved from being disappointed to being downright angry. Instead of encouraging my students, I had begun commanding them to achieve. I’d set high expectations without allowing for grace. Where I thought I was driving them to success I was actually driving them away.
I had some apologizing to do.
When the kids walked into my classroom the next day one boy and one girl each handed me a card. The one signed by all the boys expressed sincere regret for the ugly joke. The one from the girls asked for forgiveness.
I was dumbfounded. And more than a little humbled. I had my little speech all ready to give to the kids, but they’d beaten me to the punch. God had not only been busy softening my heart but also the hearts of my students.
If only I had let Him lead more often before this. If only this was the only time I would need to be taught this lesson.
It wasn’t. And with the help of this recalcitrant class, who I would also have as seventh and eighth graders, God gave me many more chances to learn just Who was better at teaching (and loving) inner-city kids.
Amy Morrison Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales http://www.chickensoup.com/ Changing Lives One Story At A Time