Dear First Pres,
Do you remember the first time you experienced snow? Perhaps you grew up driving to the snow and can identify with the teenagers who are beaming excitedly over all the snow they will experience at Winter Camp this weekend. Personally growing up where snow was an everyday reality from the end of October to the start of April, I would always anticipate the next season that promised to bring new life and warmth. As you can tell I was not a fan of the cold. The snow always seemed to be a burden, and yet my perspective is shifting as I start to see the mystery and beauty of snow through the eyes of these students. They are excited to bundle up and go sledding, to get away from their hurried lives to slow down and just be with their friends, and my prayer is for them to grow deeper in relationship with Jesus.
The change of season is good for the soul as it reminds us that our present reality is temporal. We look to the hope of Jesus Christ and the new life he restores in and around us. Snow may bring joyful memories or perhaps like mine, chilly ones. Yet I am continually reminded of the coming season of spring, where the hurt, stress, or grief I feel today will not be a forever reality. God has given us the gift of grace that we may be saved, made new, and find joy in him. As we receive the gift of God's love for ourselves and respond to him by surrendering our whole selves, we are better able to love others. May we all seek to live into a season of receiving God's abundant mercy and love anew.
We have a very full weekend ahead of us in the life of our congregation. Beginning with Jr. High and High School Ministries heading to Winter Camp on Friday night and returning Sunday. Beth Paz is venturing to Hume with 24 High School students and 4 advisors. I get the privilege of going up the hill to Sugar Pine with 24 students and 3 advisors. We are anticipating God working in new ways in the hearts of youth from all over the Central Valley. I am filled with joy in asking you to partner with us in prayer.
- Pray for safe travels as many drive up and back on windy mountain roads - with rain/snow in the forecast.
- Pray for community to be built in and among students and leaders.
- Pray for Jesus to intersect the lives of students so that they can't help but be made new in him.
- Pray for resilience as they re-enter the grind of life on Monday and learn how to live into the people God has created them to be.
We are sad to miss the Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday. (Just a friendly reminder of the Sunday Schedule: 8:30 Service; 9:30 Meeting; 11:15 Service). We are grateful our God is big enough to be present in all things!
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph. 2: 8-9 (Theme verse for Sugar Pine)
"'The most important one,' answered Jesus, is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12: 29-31 (Theme verse for Hume Lake)