Nยบ2 - APRIL 2019
The Horizon Story Line
OUR PLAN FOR IMPACTING THE 4B AREA & HOW YOU PLAY A HUGE PART
MY STORY OF LIFE CHANGE
26 SERVING IN 42 THE MIDDLE EAST
132 YEARS OF SERVICE
Bay Area Church
4800 W. Main St. League City, TX 77573 office: 281.332.2133 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bayarea.church
4 Horizon Story Line
Bay Area Church’s plan for impacting the 4B Area by Brian Haynes
10 Breathe - Answering the Call to Ministry by Charles Pulliam
12 Interview with a LifeGroup Leader
by Cherie Strange
16 Serving Your Son or Daughter
by Kade Pierce
What should i be doing?
18 Legacy Milestones Resources
Plan your path
20 Serving as a Family by Jenny Rampy
22 Serving the Community by Jason Nave
24 My Story of Life Change by Chris Boykin
Who am I supposed to be?
What is god’s plan for my life?
26 132 Years of Serving the Community
Bay Area Church’s time-line by Alexandra Lindgren
28 A Legacy of Service
Stories from a few of our long-time church members
33 Made to Make a Difference by Laura Vest
34 Serving By Leading by Patrick Lyle
36 Serving Through Counsel by Jackie Reese
40 God & Groceries • Part 2 by Aly Nickerson
42 Serving in the Middle East by Moriah Foreman
by Taylor Stringer
48 Serving the Church by Alan Hutchins
Letter from the Editor 2019 topic: service Our aim with this issue is to share stories of service from those who have served or who have been served by people who love Jesus. wHy are we doinG tHis? This magazine is a collection of real-life stories, of people, of change, and resources. As you read through these pages be aware that many of these people are just like you. They come from different families and backgrounds - even different faiths, prior to knowing Christ. What they have in common is that God worked in and around them to produce something visible and created outcomes that couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be fathomed otherwise. Our hope is that you pass the magazine on. People need to know that they are not alone, and that someone, somewhere, has been through something similar. Every person needs to know that God has not abandoned them but is actively working to bring about a change. For more information send a message to email@example.com. We canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait to meet you and watch how God will move in your life, too. Kristy Mapp, Editor-in-Chief Communications Bay Area Church
HORIZON STORY LINE BY BRIAN HAYNES LEAD PASTOR The 4B Area is the geography Southeast
of Houston inclusive of south of Beltway 8 (north) to the Beaches of Galveston Island (south) and from Galveston Bay (east) to Brazoria County (west), is experiencing a visible physical revitalization. Old neighborhoods are being renovated and new neighborhoods are expanding. Opportunities for shopping and entertainment are growing and new athletic stadiums and sports-plexes reveal the people’s passion for sports. The economy is developing, and business is expanding. Both old and new neighborhoods are in need of a spiritual, gospel renovation. We believe our efforts to make disciples of Jesus, dependent on the Word of God and the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, will bring restoration to people, families, and churches who live in the communities of the 4B Area. With more than 500,000 people living in the 4B Area and thousands more expected to move here over the next 10 years, spiritual vitality is in question. Almost half the population indicates no religious affiliation. Much of the population can be described as “de-churched” meaning they had an experience with church in their lifetime and did not find it compelling. While many believe in “the man upstairs” they have yet to experience Jesus as the one who can heal their brokenness, free them from sin, and give them a brand-new life. People in the 4B Area live in a spiritual desert and they don’t know where to find water that can refresh their souls. We need more guides directing spiritually thirsty people to the refreshing gospel of Jesus Christ. We need beautiful living pictures 4
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
mysteriously illustrating the love of Christ in daily life and we need more vibrant, gospel-centered churches preaching the goodness of God by the giving of his Son. We need to renovate the image of Christ in the 4B Area obliterating the de-churched perception of Jesus. Bay Area Church will saturate the 4B Area with the gospel by renovating people, families, and churches. To renovate is to restore or make new; to reinvigorate and revive. According to the Bible, it is the people of God, the families of God, and the churches of God who bear His image, demonstrate and preach His gospel, and carry His love to every community. These are the image bearing signposts pointing people to Christ and offering His love. We want to see dry bones come to life in the 4B Area so that every man, woman, and child will have relationship with another person, family, or a church accurately portraying Jesus and astutely sharing His love and way of life. To that end we will restore people, whether far from God or committed disciples of Jesus, so they might consistently experience the freedom and the hope of life in
the 4B Area
Christ; body, mind, soul, and spirit. Part of renovating people is to meet them at their point of brokenness with the gospel. Many people are bound in sin and believe they have no hope or way out. We will help the believer and the person far from God find daily freedom from sin through Christ as they recognize their need. We see our biblical counseling ministry expanding to offer freedom and broker the hope of the gospel and the freeing power of Jesus daily in counseling sessions to help people deal with their own hurts, circumstances, and issues. We will be a church that gives those who are staggering in a spiritual desert access to the living water only Jesus offers. We will get better at being a church of disciples who make disciples in their circles of influence such as their home, neighborhood, school, workplace, and church. We will inspire and equip every day people to become disciples and make disciples. Gospel saturation depends on every-day disciples of Jesus Christ being on mission in every sector of the 4B Area. Bay Area Church will bring vitality to family. The Scripture indicates the God-ordained institution of marriage, and family is a picture of Christâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love for the church. Family of origin is the most significant relational environment in any personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. Yet, the level of dysfunction and despair is climbing in our region regarding such relationships. We want the people of the 4B Area to see a picture of the gospel in the marriage and family relationships of believers and to find the hope and healing of Christ in their own families. We will get better at this by effectively implementing the milestones strategy of discipleship as a partnership between church and home to disciple people and empower the family in the process. In this way we will equip parents and grandparents to lead the next generation spiritually. We will be prepared to restore image-bearing relationships in the 4B www.bayarea.church
Area by brokering hope, grace, and freedom for any marriage or family that is experiencing dysfunction, difficulty, captivity to sin, or crisis. Believing the local church is God’s plan to saturate the world with the gospel, Bay Area Church will work to spiritually and physically renovate churches in the 4B Area. The church is the visible and present body of Christ telling the story of Christ and bearing witness to His goodness, grace and transformational power. So goes the church, so goes the reputation of Jesus himself in a community. We will work to revitalize existing churches and plant churches in areas of need. It is our desire to be ready and resourced for these unique opportunities to raise the banner of Christ all over the 4B region. Every person, family, and church exists within a community, a neighborhood, or a city. As we consider our task to saturate the 4B Area with the gospel by renovating people, families and churches, we know we must connect in these unique communities and realize implementation of our bigger dreams. Therefore, in the days to come we see Bay Area Church and Christian School gaining a bigger influence to realize the vision of saturating the 4B Area with the gospel in the following 5 ways ��
Bay Area Church As a church we will get better and then we will get bigger. We want to restore hope in our world by loving relentlessly, equipping biblically, and educating intentionally for the glory of Christ. We know this means getting better at loving our community and our neighbors well. This requires a clear plan for how we make disciples. We realize everyone must be equipped to use the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to build up the church and saturate the 4B Area with the gospel. We also know that we must further our passion for the worship of Christ through music, prayer, and preaching as we gather each weekend. As this happens, we believe we will grow bigger as we reach the people of our community with the hope of Christ.
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
Counseling Centers We believe mental health is a crucial issue in our region. We also believe to renovate people, families, and churches, we must offer hope and healing for those who hurt, struggle, are sick, or in crisis. Imagine professional counseling centers offering marriage and family therapy, counseling for children, teenagers, and adults, effectively helping people navigate issues of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sexual abuse, etc. We think Jesus is all about that kind of restoration.
Leadership Academy We are excited to train Christian leaders for every aspect of work, life and ministry. We envision a leadership academy designed to equip people to be Christian leaders who lead the field in their area of expertise, calling, and service for the sake of the gospel from the business sector to STEM fields; from oil and gas refineries to the church and all in between.
Church Revitalization We want to see dry bones come to life as the church awakens in our region. To that end we will partner with existing churches to help them become fruitful again for the sake of the gospel. We will re-plant churches needing total restoration and we will plant churches in communities needing gospel centered congregations.
Education Uniquely, Bay Area Church has influence in the education sector through the ministry of Bay Area Christian School. We see the ministry of Bay Area Christian School expanding in the 4B Area through educational partnerships and initiatives, and additional educational centers.
Obviously, this is a challenging vision. We believe the words of Jesus: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my father is gloriﬁed, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love.” - John 15:7-9
STAY UP TO DATE WITH BAY AREA AND THE WORK WE ARE DOING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE 4B AREA q: wHat is tHe 4B area? The 4B Area is defined as the group of people and the geography (see magazine cover) from the Beltway to the beach and from Brazoria County to the bay. We estimate there are approximately 500,000 people living in this area. q: How can i Get invoLved? We’d love for you to join us on Sunday morning to get to know us. If you feel that Bay Area is a fit for you then volunteering is a great way to get started. You can also give to Bay Area through our app, on our website at www.bayarea.church/give or on Sunday mornings. q: wHere can i find tHe Latest news at Bay area cHurcH? We have a special section just for keeping everyone up-to-date called “the Weekly.” Go to www.bayarea.church/weekly or find it under “Sundays” on the app.
Find us in the app store or text the word “app” to 281-668-7574 8
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
FRIENDSWOOD PREGNANCY CENTER
COMMON NEEDS MINISTRY
ONGOING HOME RESTORATION FROM HARVEY
STAFF TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
CHURCH BLOCK PARTY
GALVESTON BAPTIST ASSOCIATION GALVESTON URBAN MINISTRIES
LIVING WATER BIBLICAL COUNSELING MINISTRY
LIGHTHOUSE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
ANCHOR POINT PREGNANCY CENTER
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
CHARM PRISON MINISTRY
WHEN YOU GIVE TO BAY AREA YOU FUND THESE AND OTHER PROJECTS AND MINISTRIES
BREATHE - ANSWERING THE CALL TO MINISTRY BY CHARLES PULLIAM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:21, “There-
fore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, was credited with the statement, “[w]e are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” The truth of both statements makes me believe, as followers of Christ, we should not attempt to separate our spiritual calling from our humanity. You and I are called to spiritual endeavors just as much as we are called to breathe. While Paul explains in Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit,” he also goes on to explain in Romans 8:10-11, “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells in you.” Therefore, while our humanity gives us earthly desires, it What should i be doing?
Who am I supposed to be?
What is is What god’s plan plan god’s for my my for life? life?
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
also provides us with the capability to live out our life as a ministry. We never have to decide if breathing is appropriate. We never have to decide if we want people to know we are breathing. Humans do not compartmentalize breathing. We were “called” to breathe on our own at conception. Sometime during our growth and development, breathing becomes second nature and automatic. At first, as with all bodily functions, we have to depend upon someone and something, other than ourselves, to sustain us as our tools for “independent breathing” develop. At some point, we are detached, and we begin to live out our calling to breathe on our own without, barring any mental or physical issue, giving a second thought to doing so. No one had to tell us to show signs of, cherish, and guard our breath as if it were our last. While breathing is vital to living, it is not the only thing necessary to sustain life. Likewise, ministry is vital, but not the only thing necessary for righteousness. Breathing is beneficial for various functions of the body and various functions of the body assist our breathing. Similarly, the various functions of life, i.e. mind, body, soul, skills, and bents are interdependent. Our Lord, when creating you as a spiritual being, developed in you “fearfully and wonderfully made” tools to live out your spiritual calling. Before birth, our Lord’s plans for your life were known to Him and being worked toward fulfillment. Our call to
What is baptism and why do we do it? ministry, like breathing, is a sign of life. The word of God provides us with examples of people using human expertise to accomplish His spiritual purposes; people who fulfilled their calling while being who God created them to be. Jesus is obviously the clearest example of a combined earthly preparation for a spiritual calling. I understand the whole “being a part of the Godhead” makes Him an anomaly. However, consider Moses’ story in Exodus 3 & 4. At what point did Moses become the person called to lead the Israelites out of captivity? Answer: before the beginning of time. Because God is eternal, it is reasonable to state human Moses was spiritual Moses before the creation of the world. Our Lord’s omnipotence makes it reasonable to believe physical Moses had created purpose to be spiritual Moses at his conception. Moses was, from the beginning, tethered to his human experiences while he fulfilled his calling. The family he was born into, his river experience, his upbringing, his skills and vocation, the relationships, and mistakes, were all human prerequisites and a part of his calling. Our Lord uses the sum total of a believer’s human experience for His spiritual purposes. Like many of us, I spent much of my life in search of ministry opportunities and seeking my “calling;” never realizing who our Lord created me to be is my calling. My gifting is usable every day in various ways for ministry and making disciples. While, made in the image of God and having the godlike power to choose my response to my age-old and God-giving calling, I should never need to wonder if, where, or when ministry is a part of my life. While our witness is often faux, our call to ministry is as natural as breathing. All facets of my human experience are spiritual by nature of our very existence. For Christ followers, it’s impossible to separate our spiritual calling from daily living. My prayer is through word and deed we would learn to minister and share “the way, the truth, and the life” as we live in a manner worthy of our calling.
Jesus says do this: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Baptism & Life in Christ If you are awaiting baptism, or have questions about this practice or your life in Christ, please consider attending the Baptism & Life in Christ Class. You will be provided with biblical insight into the significance of baptism by immersion, as well as the marks of maturing in Christ. The class is offered monthly.
Register here: www.bayarea.church/baptism
INTERVIEW WITH A LIFEGROUP LEADER Q&A WITH CHERI STRANGE Why did you decide to start a LifeGroup? 1.
There are 5 reasons: We have been a part of off campus LifeGroups in the past. We found them to be where we developed the most meaningful relationships at church. It was when we were in people’s homes and they were in ours that we began to really know one another. Chad and I know our tendencies to serve and give of ourselves but never make time to develop relationships outside of giving. It’s exhausting. Eventually you look back on the last X years you have poured your guts into ministering to those around you and still have no friends. They can “appreciate” you and all you do yet have no desire to invite you to dinner. The only solution to this recurring situation we have found is to purposely participate in a home-based LifeGroup. We knew when we moved to the area, finding a church that functioned with LifeGroups was essential. When Pastor Brian announced the need to begin more LifeGroups in neighborhoods, we practically ran to sign up. The family who leads with us teaches a first grade LifeGroup month on/month off, so they do not always get adult interaction on Sunday mornings. They felt like joining an off campus LifeGroup would help them develop deeper adult relationships with people they could see more regularly. The kids were all on board because it’s just another
way to make friends. Attending large schools all over the area makes it difficult to build relationships within a major city. They were also excited about drawing people in from school and other places who might not come to church but would be willing to come to the house for a Bible study. Had you attended a LifeGroup prior to starting your own? Yes. Chad and I were invited to be a part of a small group because there were several of us teaching Sunday School all over the campus at a previous church. It was a beautiful mix of ages and walks of life and we loved them. Then we offered one in our home for young married couples. Those nights were a huge hassle but so worth the energy and inconvenience. What makes yours unique? When we signed up to lead, church attendees were invited to find a group. We live in Seabrook and had few people interested in signing up for our group. We invited one family to partner with us. Sometimes in those early weeks it might just be us. But we began to pray and discuss strategy. If the point is saturating the 4B Area with the Gospel, We didn’t need to wait for church members to sign up. What we needed was a different approach. That approach required having eyes to see. Instead of keeping our lives in categories and boxes, we
OUR MOTTO IS: “DOING NOTHING IS NOT A LOVING OPTION.”
Another unique aspect of this group God has brought together is commonality in trials. Almost half of the group has experienced significant loss within their immediate family. I think this tie offers a comfort and an unspoken understanding that permeates the environment. No one talks about it, necessarily, but it has provided the undergirding for allowing people the freedom to just be real. Sometimes life brings the unexpected. And it’s crushing. Loss hurts. It hurts a lot and can be life-altering. But God is good and we are walking this out together. You are not alone. I am not alone.
began to see those we lived around and functioned with as people who might want to come. Building relationships with our neighbors became priority. We also noticed people at church who might be technically connected to a group or ministry but may be missing a circle of people with whom to do life. And because God does not only work solely through adults, we encouraged our children to open their eyes to see others who might need deeper relationships, too. There are so many people our kids connect with by God’s design that we might never meet. God has uniquely given them their own spheres of influence and they are responsible for it. Our motto is “doing nothing is not a loving option--” Not for us, not for them, not for any believer in Christ. So we started praying. As we felt led, we invited people. We promised a meal. Some of them came. Teenagers showed up. Then some of their parents came. Before we knew it, we were hosting a house filled with a mixture of church members, neighbors, and students who are home schooled, in the public school, as well as private. Some participants are married. Others are single. There are those who hardly believe there is a God and others are completely confused about Him. All ages participate. Most voice questions and offer comments. Everyone is heard. Truth is proclaimed. God has sprouted community where there was none. 14
It has developed into a safe and enjoyable place for preteens and teenagers. They hang out together, including those with special needs and personality quirks. Questions can be asked. Discussion is encouraged. Nothing is off the table. No one is excluded. If you ask these teens what makes the group unique you will hear them mention how a lot of people who come don’t actually go to our church. And that they represent multiple ages. Even though there are so many different ages of people, this generation appreciates how everyone talks to each other. Kids talk to adults and vice versa. In their words, “like we are a family.” They don’t feel like it’s just a place just for adults. Everyone is plugged in.
How have you seen God working through the ministry of your LifeGroup? It’s been our experience before and through this particular community that most people of all ages are somewhat isolated today. We have to be intentional about building and maintaining those relationships. It’s not hard. We just don’t do it. But LifeGroups provide the structure. People show up to church often feeling alone. They worship and then leave with that same isolated sense. LifeGroups are the catalyst or mechanism for making a difference in someone’s life. There is nothing magical about
never been in a Christian home previously or been exposed to the gospel. That’s amazing! Some people can only get to be here and are unable to go to church. LifeGroup is their only opportunity to hear the Gospel and experience what it’s like to live it out together. Community has developed that was unexpected that extends beyond the LifeGroup setting. And it’s a safe place for all. Everyone’s anxiety has come down over the months together. It’s really a beautiful experience that carries over into the week. The teenagers have noted this at school and church. We have also started doing things outside that one meeting time. The guys have gone to sporting events. The women get together for lunch or breakfast other times. Any advice for those seeking to join a group or even start their own?
the LifeGroup experience. We pick up the clutter around the house. Everyone brings snacks or pizza or something else and we visit. Then we come together — everyone crowded into one space. We talk about the Bible for thirty minutes and share prayer requests. That’s really it. It’s not rocket science but it’s extremely meaningful. It has also provided relationships where there were none. It seems everyone there feels like they have a friend. This experience has definitely helped deepen relationships from people you might see occasionally and offer a greeting to having genuine friendships. The environment also provides an opportunity for gaining a richer understanding of who God is and what the Gospel is all about. Some people come who have
Just try it. We have had a couple of families who tried our group and made another choice. This group didn’t work for them. That’s ok. In fact, it’s good and right. Find your place. Give it four to six weeks. But go! And if you are feeling led to start one, do it! Don’t be discouraged if there is a small response from the congregation. That may just mean God has another plan to fill your group. Start praying for your neighbors, your coworkers, and the friends of your kids. Just invite them. Say, “Hey, we do this thing on Sunday nights. We just hang out and eat and then do a short Bible study. We would love you to come.” That’s it. We have been surprised at how many have been interested. Other times they look at you like you are a nut-case. That’s ok. Keep praying, keep asking, and keep building the relationships. But know— God is absolutely about getting the Gospel into the 4B Area and we are the method. It’s worth it. Go. Do it.
SERVING YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER BY KADE PIERCE STUDENT PASTOR As Christian parents, we want to be good disciples.
After all, we are setting an example for our children, aren’t we? We hear the words of John in 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us not love one another in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Perhaps it is the words of Paul in Galatians 5, “…but through love serve one another.” Either way, these words motivate us to action, an action that we call service. In the church context we may find ourselves saying things like, “I am looking for a place to serve.” When saying this it is typically in reference to the local church we attend. This is a good thing to desire. We, as disciples, ought to be motivated to find places to serve the local church that we are a part of. What is more fascinating is that God has provided all parents a place to fulfill their desire to serve that is even closer to them than the local church, close enough to be in their very own home. God has provided parents with children to serve. SERVING MY KIDS?
Perhaps at this point you find yourself thinking, “I have never thought about parenting being an avenue of service to God.” Maybe you even thought of it as the opposite. “If anyone is going to serve in this family it’s going to be the kids. After all, who is in charge here?” Those are legitimate responses. However, it would be helpful to identify a few reasons why you as a parent should see parenting your children as a means of service to God. SERVED PEOPLE SERVE PEOPLE
You may have heard the phrase, “hurt people, hurt people”, as a way to say that those who hurt others have likely been or currently are hurt themselves. The same idea is true in regards to service, served people serve people. Jesus in John 13, while at a meal with His disciples begins to wash their feet. It was a display of ultimate humility and service that shocked the disciples. You may even be able to imagine the disbelief on their faces as Jesus, their Rabbi, 16
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
their leader, has knelt down to serve them. As Jesus finishes washing their feet, He provides them, as He so often does, with a lesson. He says, in v. 13-15, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” Did you catch the instruction in v. 15, “…do just as I have done to you.” It seems fair to summarize Jesus as saying, if you want to be like your Rabbi, you must serve like your Rabbi. Parents, Jesus has served us, in response we must find ourselves serving others, the nearest of which is our kids. IT IS THE PRIMARY PLACE GOD HAS CALLED PARENTS TO SERVE
In Deuteronomy 6, the LORD is instructing the people of God in the law of God. He says in Deuteronomy 6:4-7, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” According to Deuteronomy 6, the home is the primary place God has called Christian parents to engage in discipleship.
That is, to live as disciples and to seek to make disciples. Therefore, one of the ways that you as a parent should live as a disciple in the context of your home must include serving those around you. TAKING CARE OF THE BODY
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul depicts the community of Christ followers as a body and the individuals of that community as members of the body. In v. 12-14 Paul says, For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. Paul says that if you are in Christ, if you have confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead then you are saved (Romans 10:9) and as a result a part of the body of Christ. This includes believing children. Perhaps the inclusion of v. 13 could be understood in this way, Jews and Greeks, slaves or free, child or adult. The point seems to be that there is no distinction within the body of Christ. We are as Romans 12:5 says, “…one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Thus, amongst a sea of reasons to serve our children, if they are Christians, we are bound as members of the same body to serve one another. SHOWING CHRIST
“What if my kids are not Christians, am I free from serving them?” Certainly the answer to this question is no given two of the previous three answers. That being said, if you have children in your home that are not Christ followers (which every family does as some point or another) you have a unique evangelistic opportunity. Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16 says it like this, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus tells the crowd that when you live the way that I have instructed you to live it is a means by
which God reveals Himself to others. Can you imagine hearing the testimony of your children later in life as they say,
“A big reason that I follow Christ today is because of the way my mom/ dad selflessly served in our home. It looked a lot like Jesus.” So Christian parent, even though your kids are not Christians, serve them, because, God willing, “they will see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” HOW DO YOU SERVE YOUR KIDS?
Hopefully, convinced to serve your children, you are now asking the question, how do I do this? Providing a specific answer to this question wouldn’t be helpful as each of your homes are different. However, as you are thinking through what this may specifically look like let Philippians 2:1-8 guide you, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Ask yourself, does what you are doing look like Christ’s service to you? Is it others focused, humble, sacrificial? Let’s be a church made up of parents who are willing to serve our kids because God commands it, it’s our natural response to receiving the service we’ve been given, the body needs it, and the Kingdom can expand as a result of it.
LEGACY MILESTONES PLAN YOUR PATH
Spiritual Maturity is a lifelong process. It begins the day you are born and continues throughout life. Equipping the generations means that as you and I grow, we lead the next generation spiritually. Leading begins at home with family. We believe the church and family should work together to raise the next generation of Christians. We see discipleship as a two sided coin: Church and Family. We believe God designed parents to be the uniquely perfect, primary faith trainers of their children. If the church and family are to work together to equip the generations, we need a common path to walk on. We call this the path of Legacy Milestones. Everything we do as a church should help people mature along the path, and everything you do as a parent – from leading Faith Talks, to capturing God Moments, and celebrating Milestones – also helps your children mature along the path. Learn more at www.bayarea.church/milestones
• • • • • • • • • • • •
A Parent Privilege Bringing Up Boys Bringing Up Girls Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide Don’t Miss It God Knows My Name How God Makes Babies Seeds of Character - Seeds Family Worship CD Volume 6 The Big God Story The Five Love Languages of Children The Legacy Path The Story of Me
Milestone 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Adventure Bible Before I Was Born Big Truths for Young Hearts His Little Princess His Mighty Warrior How to Bring Your Children to Christ Indescribable Devotional Meet Penny Nickels Talking With Your Kids About God Teaching Kids About God The Five Love Languages of Children The Jesus Storybook Bible Where Do Babies Come From?: Boy’s Edition Where Do Babies Come From?: Girl’s Edition
Milestone 3 • All Pro Dad • Big Truths for Young Hearts
Understanding your role as the primary faith trainer for your family.
Preparing for Adolescence
Preparing your child to embrace their identity in Christ as a teenager.
Training your child to know and use their Bible while teaching them to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
Purity for Life
Leading your teenager to live a lifetime of Biblical purity.
High School Graduation Life in Christ
Living as, and learning to become a life-long follower of Christ. 18
Teaching your teen the importance of finding their identity in Christ.
Rite of Passage
Equipping your teen for Biblical manhood or womanhood.
• A Praying Life • Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God • Praying: Finding Your Way Through Duty to Delight
Scripture • Spiritual Disciplines for Christian Life
• 30 Days: Turning the Hearts of Parents & Teens Toward Each Other • Devotions for the God Girl • Devotions for the God Guy • Every Young Man’s Battle • Every Young Woman’s Battle • Lies Young Women Believe • Plugged in Parenting • Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle • Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle • Relentless Parenting • The Secret Keeper • The Five Love Languages of Teens
• Don’t Waste Your Life • Knowing God
• Money, Possessions, and Eternity • The Treasure Principle
• • • • • • • • • •
Age of Opportunity Baptist Catechism Every Young Man, God’s Man Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild Marvelously Made Men and Women: Equal Yet Different Raising a Modern-Day Knight Raising a Modern-Day Princess Relentless Parenting The Five Love Languages
Milestone 6 • Defending the Faith • Discovering God’s Way of Handling Money - Leader • Discovering God’s Way of Handling Money - Students • Freshman: The College Student’s Guide to Developing Wisdom • The Blessing • The Case for the Creator • The Meaning of Marriage • The Reason for God • When God Writes Your Love Story
Milestone 7 • Prayer
Obedient Follower • Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.
Disciple Maker • • • • • •
Becoming a Contagious Christian Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus Legacy Path Lessons on Assurance Lessons on Christian Living Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples
Community • Life in Community: Joining Together to Display the Gospel • Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community • Sharing Possessions: What Faith Demands
Special Issues • Boundaries with Kids • Confident Parenting • Don’t Miss It: Parent Every Week Like it Counts • Grace Based Parenting • Growing Up Social • Just the Way I Am • New City Catechism • Orphanology • Parent Chat: The Technology Talk for Every Family • Parenting Beyond Your Capacity • The Art of Neighboring • The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted • The New Dare to Discipline • Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents
Visit the Legacy Resource Center for these and other great resources.
Instructing a Child’s Heart Parenting Beyond Your Capacity Playing for Keeps Plugged in Parenting Preparing for Adolescence (CD Pack) Shepherding A Child’s Heart Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality The Spiritual Growth of Children
• • • • • • • •
Serving as a Family by Jenny Rampy
When I was a young mother I al-
ways felt like I could not serve. I would hear about need after need and, although my heart was heavy, I never felt I could help due to the demands on my life at home. Yes, I could always pray, but I wanted to do more. Then God provided a chance not only for me to serve but for my family and I to serve together. When my oldest was 12, we learned about a family in our church in which the mother had recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. They were needing help with meals and house cleaning. I was excited because I felt this was my chance! We knew how to clean a house, and we had many hands to help! I thought about how we could make it work. My husband Shawn and I figured out a plan. I could take our four older kids over one day a week and clean this family’s house. With all of us working, we could do it in about 2 hours. Shawn worked shift work at the time, so he could stay home with the younger ones. The kids were not necessarily thrilled about cleaning another family’s home, but they were willing. Every week we would arrive after lunch. I would start the laundry. My oldest son tackled the kitchen. The next two sons and daughter tidied up the bedrooms and bathrooms. After starting the laundry, I tackled the master bedroom with all the medical supplies, needles and waste. As we each finished our individual chores, we would meet together in the living area to clean 20
and finish up the laundry. For two months we cleaned toilets, sinks, and counter tops. We changed bed sheets, put toys away, and dusted. We vacuumed, swept, and mopped floors. Unfortunately, after that short time, the young mother passed and was taken home to be with God. When we first started cleaning for this family, we prayed for them as a family and had conversations about why we were doing this. One day, I asked my daughter to help me clean in the parent’s room. There were many bottles of medicine, used needles in the trash can by the bed, and unused needles in packages by the sink. There was hair on the floor and on the bed from the effects of the chemo/radiation that made the mother’s hair fall out. Recently, my daughter expressed that, at the time, she did not understand why she had to clean the little girl’s room. The little girl was big enough to clean it for herself! Surely, she was just
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
being lazy. However, as we served, my daughter’s eyes were gradually opened to the life this family had been living to the point that her heart was softened toward the little girl and her family. Because we as a family had stepped out of the comfort of our own lives for a time, we were able to see the real needs of another family and learn a lesson in compassion that my children have not forgotten. Even as Christ-followers, we can become so easily caught up in our own lives that we sometimes neglect to see the needs in the lives of others around us. But one of the beautiful and mysterious things about God is that He uses imperfect people to minister to the needs of others. God often asks us to meet the others’ needs through our prayers. He may even lead us to meet some needs through our finances. But, as our family has learned, God will also often ask us to meet needs by walking the path alongside those in need.
We got personally involved with this family. We listened to their hurting hearts. We folded the blankets that comforted their children at night. We cleaned the messes left around the house that this ailing mother could not take care of herself. We felt the impact cancer had on this family, and we used this experience to teach our family compassion and sacrifice. Was it easy? No. In fact, there were times when it felt weird as we invaded another familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intimate, private space. But even though it was sometimes awkward, I now look back and am thankful for the lessons God taught our family through this experience. Over the years as my family has served and been served, God has opened our eyes to many opportunities for us to serve as a family. Church events like Blessing the Bay Area provides a time where our whole family can serve together.
VBS and Mission Trips have also been service opportunities that have blessed my family over the years. The way my family serves may not look anything like the way your family serves. And that is why I appreciate Bay Area Church - they provide so many different opportunities for families to serve together. All those years ago, God used that mother and family to show me and my young family a meaningful way to bless and serve others. He has given us places to serve in our church, and He has also provided us ways to serve by interacting with people everywhere we go. A conversation with the checkout girl at the grocery store might lead our family to pray about her need for a reliable car. A friend whose husband is out of work might mean our family makes a financial sacrifice to help put food on the table. A walk around the block might end with
GOD OFTEN ASKS US TO MEET THE OTHERSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; NEEDS THROUGH OUR PRAYERS. a commitment to take a neighbor friend to the doctor. Hearing a new friend share how her family is struggling in their relationships might lead to sharing that our only hope is in Jesus. Just by taking the time to talk to people, by being present and available in their lives, God can show you and your family a way to serve and bless people in your life.
Serving the Community by Jason Nave, Head of School
asked what is the great commandment in the Law, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-389, ESV). The greatest endeavor of Bay Area Christian School is to provide a Kingdom Education, which fosters a biblical world-view. When we have a biblical world-view, Christ is the center of all we do, and therefore, loving others is an inherent quality of our lives. As a ministry of Bay Area Church, Bay Area Christian School shares the same goal of expressing
the restorative power of the Gospel of Christ. It’s no secret that our students accomplish much and achieve greatly, but the greatest thing they can do is demonstrate a life focused on absolute and eternal truth, which demonstrates this restorative property of Christ. In the past year, our students have brought hope, service, and the Gospel to those in our community. Our elementary students have frequented the Houston Food Bank for class field trips while also donating food to Lighthouse Ministries. Our second graders visited Regent Care Nursing Home to sing Christmas carols and give out Christmas cards, and fifth grade assembled care packages including
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
blankets and gift boxes for children within the foster care system. Our junior high students participated in our “BACS Providers” program where they purchased, delivered and distributed Christmas gifts for other children in need while also serving in local food banks. Our high school students participated in various clubs and activities to serve the community. It is common to see our students teaching Sunday School for children, leading Wednesday night youth services, leading music in area churches on Sundays, volunteer coaching in the community, working at food pantries, volunteering at hospitals, and providing continued help with Hurricane Harvey relief. Furthermore,
many students have plans of a career in ministry, and it is not uncommon to see them planning and participating in mission trips abroad. This coming May, our high school students will also be taking a trip to another country to participate in a house-building project for a family in need. As the school year started, our student council was challenged to encourage the city’s major officials. They wrote letters to our Chief of Police, Chief of the Fire Department, CCISD Superintendent, City Council, and also our Mayor, Pat Hallisey. Recently, at the memorial services for an LCPD officer held on our campus, our students interacted with Mayor Hallisey as he
was in attendance for the service. I remember our Mayor meeting one of our students as she held the door for us. She was asked what her plans were when she graduates from BACS. Her reply was, “I plan to go into the ministry where I can impact and serve others.” It is a blessing to be a part of what God is doing in our school. The greatest reward is seeing our students love Jesus Christ to the point of making Him the epicenter of their lives, and therefore, serving others in a selfless, loving way as He so declared we should.
WHEN WE HAVE A BIBLICAL WORLD-VIEW, CHRIST IS THE CENTER OF ALL WE DO, AND THEREFORE, LOVING OTHERS IS AN INHERENT QUALITY OF OUR LIVES.
MY STORY of life change BY CHRIS BOYKIN
We are all given a story to tell. Unfortunately, we
are not able to skip ahead a chapter, or turn to the last page, and see how it all turns out. If we were, we might decide to live differently, spend our time more wisely, and cherish our limited time while here on this earth. I’ll spare you the details about me coming from a broken home, living a regretful immoral life, and almost killing a friend in a drunk driving accident… all before the age of eighteen. Suffice it to say, until I met the Lord, I was on a life path that would not have turned out favorable. Thankfully, I accepted Christ shortly after I graduated high school and my life’s path changed for the better.
Fast forward to 2017… I’m happily married for 26 years, I have three beautiful daughters (two in college and one a senior at Bay Area Christian School), a great job, and a great church and life is good. Except for the fact that my wife is dealing with Stage 4 cancer. Yeah, it kinda hit us like that too, unexpectedly. You see, a few years before, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, but we had already dealt with that. She had a few surgeries, the doctors removed stuff, and she was cancer free. So, over a year later when she started having back pain, our minds never even went to cancer, but it had returned. On November 2, 2016 we were told it had spread to multiple places in her body, so we started down the path of chemo. On August 19, 2017 she left this earth and went to be with the Lord. A week later, to the day, our house flooded from Hurricane Harvey. A few days after we were finally able to have the funeral service, her dad passed away. It was a year of significant pain, suffering, and heartbreak. In looking back, it was easily the worst year of my life. The interesting thing is, it was also one of the best years. You see, amongst the tragedies that befell our family in 2017, God was still there and provided us with great joys. In May, my two oldest daughters graduated from college, just one day apart. It was a proud weekend in our family. A week after the graduations, Dinah and I celebrated 26 years
of marriage together. In July, our middle daughter got married and I gained my first son-in-law. God even provided an unexplainable miracle, literally minutes before the wedding and allowed Dinah to be part of it. When the flood took our house, loving friends at Bay Area showed up in droves with tools, fans, dehumidifiers, food, and lots of muscle. Within three days after the flood, my house was mucked out and drying. Then, in November, our oldest daughter got married and our family grew again. I could not have asked for better men for my girls. We prayed for them for their whole lives and God answered those prayers. But wait, there’s more… our youngest daughter started her senior year in High School in the fall, an exciting time in her life and mine. She was accepted to all of the colleges she applied for too. We were also able to move back into our house the week before Thanksgiving, after God blessed us through our flood
insurance and contractors. Finally, to top off our roller coaster year, in snowed in December! God was writing our story. This year has been a year of rebuilding… physically with my house, spiritually with my faith, and practically trying to define my “new normal”. You see, when God writes your story different than you imagined, it stops you in your tracks. You have to make decisions you never wanted to make, you have to think about things you never wanted to think about, and you have to examine what you truly believe. It’s one thing to say you believe something, like God determines the number of our days, but it’s another to believe what you are saying. We may freely say, “Your will be done,” but do we really mean it if His will is to take away our spouse at forty-seven? These are the questions you are left asking yourself when you are face-to-face with your faith. Do I really believe what I have said for most of my life, have taught others
in LifeGroups, and have raised my children to believe? Or, do I only believe it when life is good? For me, my answer was, and always will be, yes! Yes, I believe it. I believe God writes my story. I don’t always like what He writes, but I know that He is ultimately in control and that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) So, for now, I will continue to lead worship, host a LifeGroup at my house, lead a GriefShare class, and anything else that God leads me to do. I’m surrounded by family, friends, and a church that loves me and encourages me. I’m loved by a God who sent His only Son to die for me, so that I could spend eternity with Him in heaven. I’m secure in my faith. MY STORY CONTINUES, NOT AS I WRITE IT, BUT AS GOD DOES.
December 4, 1887 Bay Area Church was organized as Clear Creek Baptist Church, which was the first church on the mainland in Galveston county
September 8, 1895 D. T. McLeod called as the first permanent pastor June 14, 1896 First church building was dedicated in downtown League City and the church adopted the name â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;First Baptist Church, League Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;
July 1896 Sunday School was organized
September 3, 1900 The Storm of 1900 destroyed our first building
November 15, 1902 Second building is completed
1910s 1920s 1937 First Baptist Church of Dickinson planted
1930s 1937-1939 Membership of the church tripled, largely because of the influx of new people from the discovery of oil in the area
1963 First Music and Education Director hired
March 1939 First parsonage completed
1966 Texas Avenue Baptist Church planted
November 1953 New auditorium completed
1956 First Baptist of Friendswood planted
132 Years of Service by Alexandra Lindgren
a program at my school, I have been blessed to be able to work with our church’s graphic designer, Kristy Mapp, on this time-line of our history. This project has grown dear to me, and I believe that it is important to organize and document the history of our church in order to share it with people. Even amongst the church body, there are not many who know about our church’s beginnings and the long years that have led us to the present. But this time-line is not to glorify what we have done – it is not to celebrate our accomplishments. The story of our church is one in which God graciously took care of us, through the Storm of 1900 and Hurricane Harvey, from 1887 to today. So, as Pastor Calvin Pearson, one of our former pastors, said – this time-line is “...a celebration, not of the history of this church, but a celebration of God.”
March 24, 1974 Our current 50-acre site purchased September 1973 Bay Area Christian School opened
Fall 2016 Our name was shortened to Bay Area Church
Renewed focus on the 4B Area and an expanded passion for the North East and Middle East
October 14, 2012 125th Anniversary Celebration February 4, 2012 First Parent Summit
March 25, 2011 Blessing the Bay Area began December 5, 2010 Pastor Brian Haynes became the Lead Pastor
May 15, 1976 Ground-breaking for the Worship Center at our current location April 3, 1977 First service held in February 2007 the current Worship New Student Center Center dedicated May 1, 1977 New church building dedicated
May 12, 1982 Our name officially became Bay Area First Baptist Church, describing our desire to reach the entire Bay Area with the Gospel
FORWARD Initiative provided new Preschool & Office Building and Commons Space for the upgraded Worship Center
1995 Sports Center completed
2005 School and Children’s Building dedicated
Andy - A Divine Appointment by J. Morris
Our church, in earlier years, before moving
to our current site, was located in downtown League City at 700 2nd Street, and was then named, League City First Baptist Church. In 1976, I was serving as Business Administrator for the church. I was in my office and took a call from a young man asking if he could have a package sent to our church. I was busy, so I told him he could have it sent to General Delivery at the Post Office. The next day when I was working in my office, I received a letter from a father in Alabama. In the letter he explained that his son, Andy, had run away from home and joined a carnival. The carnival was stopping in League City. He asked if possibly our church could help Andy. I sensed that Andy was the young man who had called me about a package being sent to our church. I left at once to go to the carnival that was located on the shopping strip parking lot at the corner of FM 518 and Highway 3. When I arrived, it looked like they were taking the carnival down and preparing to leave. I asked the man in charge about Andy. He advised me that Andy was in jail because he had broken one of
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Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
the store windows. Evidently Andy and some other carnival guys had been drinking the night before, gotten rowdy, and threw some things around which resulted in the broken window. The mayor, Johnny Arolfo, had informed the carnival to leave town. Having heard this news, I went to the Police Department jail to see Andy. I found him to be a tall, slender, polite young man with long blonde hair. He had a large fine to pay in order to be released, which he did not have. I asked him if the church would be willing to pay his fine, would he be willing to work and pay us back. He heartily agreed, so I asked our pastor, Walter Davidson, if we could do this. Having the pastor’s “okay” I went to the jail and paid Andy’s fine. He was released to me. This presented another problem. Where would he stay? With my wife Carolyn and our three children’s “okay,” we let him stay with us in our home. Andy worked as custodian at the church for around a year. He stayed even after he had paid us back in labor. Of course, he attended all our church services, hearing Brother Walter preach the gospel. After several months, Andy called
upon the name of the Lord and received Christ. We urged him to be baptized. He agreed that he wanted to, but not in that “bath tub” we called the baptistery. He said since Jesus was baptized in a river, that’s what he wanted to do. Our 50-acre property we had purchased (where our church is now located) borders on Clear Creek. Brother Walter gave Andy his wish and baptized him in the creek. Andy stayed for a while after that. However, one day he said he would be “movin’ on” -- going home to Alabama to see his mother and father and then on to other places. We will miss him! We offered to take him wherever he wanted to go or let him take an old car he had been driving. However, he said he preferred to go to the freeway and “hitch a ride.” We later got a postcard saying he was picking apples in Washington State, then later we heard from him in
Florida. Some years after that, he was canoing around some islands in Hawaii and later purchased some land to farm on one of the islands there. What a unique guy! Andy never gave us any problems the entire time he stayed with us. He was always kind and considerate. We believe Andy’s story is an example of how God engineers events in our lives. This was truly “A Divine Appointment.” In 1977, we moved from our downtown location to our new church at our current location. A church directory named “Dedication Day Directory’’ in honor of this occasion was printed and dated May 1, 1977. A beautiful picture of Brother Walter baptizing Andy in the creek was printed on the back cover of the directory. Little did we know that Andy was the first of many other teenagers we would take into our home, but that’s another story!
My Story by Elaine Murphree
I would like to begin by telling you a little bit
about my family as this story involves them. My name is Elaine Riddick Murphree, I was born in Dyersburg, Tennessee, December 20, 1929. Yes, that was 89 years ago, depression times, and we were the poorest of poor. When I was six months old my family picked up and moved to Steele (the boot hill of Missouri) known as the home of the cotton fields. We were very fortunate to have work in the spring chopping cotton and in the fall picking cotton. Note, in those days there were no cotton-picking machines. Not bragging but I was a good cotton picker, picking 300 to 350 pounds a day. That’s a lot of snatching and grabbing. The pay was around $1.50 per 100 pounds of cotton picked. I could keep part of the money I made to buy school clothes for myself. I grew up with five brothers, three older than me, and two younger than me. No, I didn’t receive special privileges being the only girl. I had to be as tough as the boys or I got left out. We were taught right from wrong and the nighttime prayer, “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.” We never went to church and were never taught about Jesus. My Dad was a good man, hard worker, and cared about us, but he was addicted to alcohol. No one ever came and invited us to church or told us about Jesus. That is why visitation, witnessing, and telling people how to be saved has been dear to my heart. In 1976 my family became members of Bay Area Church, then known as League City First Baptist. My husband purchased a bus and we would pick up and bring to church approximately 20-30 children and parents with us on Sunday. The bus ministry was thriving then. We had a visitation program every Monday night, and we would meet afterwards and share about our visits, especially reporting on those who
A LEGACY OF SERVICE 30
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Brother Walter Davidson was Pastor at that time. Freddie Gage was on staff at that time, he was a famous Evangelist, and he led us into the Go-Tell Visitation Program. Our next leader was Pastor Randy Williams in the Faith Program. We met for training and then went out visiting any visitors, new comers, or leads of new families that moved into the area. I loved that ministry. We would go out in three’s, Harold Dudley, Gene Harrill (both deceased) or Ken Ramsey and myself. John Channing always reminds me of the Faith Motto, “F is for FORGIVENESS.” Now I want to tell you about the one responsible for me coming to know the Lord Jesus as my Savior. My first cousin, Pete Miller, committed a crime and was sentenced to die in the electric chair. He was placed on death row for a few months. God sent a chaplain to his cell one day, who told him how Jesus died for our sins and would forgive us if we asked. Pete prayed that sinner’s prayer and began telling my brothers when they would visit him what happened to him and made them promise to share this with the family. My oldest brother, Delbert, made that promise to him and kept that promise. He not only told the family, he told people all over the world. He was saved the next Sunday after my cousin was killed in 1949. He went from a lot of drinking, gambling, smoking, and cursing, to being rid of them all in one day. Within a year, he started seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas and later received his Doctorate Degree and taught Bible College. He was a pastor for twenty-six years. He had a hard time, at first, with us, his family, and we would call him a fanatic. I was saved in 1950. I had another brother Bill who became a preacher soon after that. Delbert’s son, Dennis, Bill’s son-in-law, Tony, and grandson Daniel, another
brother Jake’s son, Terry, are all preachers. As well as many other family members serving in their churches. We don’t know how many souls have been saved from hell because of this miracle of God, sending the chaplain to tell my cousin about Jesus’ saving grace. You might say, anyone would accept Jesus knowing he was going to die. I know this is not true, I know God was working through it all. I am supposed to be writing about my legacy that I might leave. I finally found later in life that my spiritual gift is service. I began with the bus route, then served on the benevolence committee by organizing and putting meals together for members that had lost loved ones. They were always so grateful. I fulfilled that honor for over twenty years. I lead the Encouragers LifeGroup Class which started when we were all in the age group of the sixties. And now
the youngest of the group is 88 and the oldest one is 94. It’s been a happy and sad time, because we have seen 18 of them graduate on to Glory. They are such an encouragement to me, and I love each of them very much. I pray that my story will touch the heart of many of God’s children and cause us to obey God’s command. Luke 14:23 says, “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that my house may be filled.” In my 42 years of being a member of this great Church, I have seen so many changes, God has blessed in so many ways. I am excited about the vision that Pastor Brian and other leaders have in planting new churches, reviving dead churches and reaching out to people who need to hear the word. Thank you, God for Pastor Brian, the Associate Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Staff and Leaders.
Jackie by John Channing
About two years ago I delivered a Bay Area
Church cup to the home of Jackie, a 1st time visitor to our church. She was so friendly telling me about her husband, a Coast Guard officer. She had been raised Catholic in New York and was mother to a three-year-old son who’d had childhood cancer. She’d tried to enroll him at BACS preschool and that led to her first visit to our church. The next Sunday, my wife Gail and I were serving in the Welcome Center with Candi when Jackie and son came by. Candi, as usual, was so friendly and welcoming to Jackie and I took her to the Meet Bay Area Class. After that, Jackie visited and became a member of Keith
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Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
Kennedy’s LifeGroup (that’s still called Sunday School by us seniors). Within a few months, Jackie professed faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior, and was baptized! She and her Coast Guard family now live in Corpus Christi with a new child. This story is about fulfillment of the Great Commission of going, making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all things Jesus has taught us. Hopefully, this will be the formula as we saturate the 4B Area with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Made to Make a Difference by Laura Vest
As a Christian, I represent Christ within
my community. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul argues that because we are believers in Christ, we are new creations “therefore we are ambassadors for Christ.” Paul implies that it is not an option. So, because we are “ambassadors for Christ” we ought to represent Christ well. Since the creation of man, humanity has been a broken depiction of God’s character. Because mankind was created in the image of God, we, believers and non-believers, unknowingly reveal attributes of Christ throughout our day-to-day lives. We do this every time we express compassion, extend forgiveness, exhibit selflessness, or show love to others in any way. One of our goals as Christians ought to be to show these characteristics purposefully. Our intention for showing these characteristics should be to point others to Christ so that He can be glorified. As followers of Christ, we are given spiritual gifts to better represent the living God. Some of these gifts are exhortation, leadership, prophecy, speaking in tongues, the working of miracles, wisdom, evangelism, and service (1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Romans 12:7-17). Although service is a gift of the Spirit, it is also something every Christian called to do. In Philippians 2 Paul writes “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of
God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” We are called to imitate Jesus, and He was a servant; therefore, we should serve others. Serving others is not just involving yourself in church projects like Blessing the Bay Area or mission trips, but it is intentionally putting your own agenda aside in order to help someone else. We can serve by aiding someone financially, materialistically, spiritually, or by physical labor. Tithing is a simple way to help others financially, since a percentage of the money goes towards the benefit of others. Donating food, clothes, and toys can easily help those less fortunate. Serving others spiritually may look like encouraging someone in a hard time, volunteering to help in a preschool class on Sundays or leading a LifeGroup.
When we grasp the entirety of service, Christ is radiant through us.
One of the hardest concepts to understand about service is doing it for the right reasons. Because of our human desires we often do good things for selfish reasons. Too often we serve because the “thanks” we receive temporarily satisfies our need to feel appreciated instead of wanting to be the hands and feet of Christ. When we serve, it ought to be our desire to point others to Christ because He served us in the best way through His death and resurrection.
SERVING BY LEADING BY PATRICK LYLE WORSHIP ARTS ASSOCIATE There are many instances in life in which people may find themselves in the role of a leader. Perhaps you are a leader in your workplace and have the responsibility of overseeing other people or a project that is happening. Maybe you are a leader in your school, small group, or on your athletic team. If you are a parent or grandparent, you lead your kids and family in influential ways every single day. There are so many resources on the topic of leadership, and it can often be a little overwhelming to try to narrow down all the perfect qualities of a leader. Among all the good advice and practices out there, there is one characteristic of leadership, though, that must not be left out of the equation. It is one that carries out leadership by example, love, humility, and selflessness. It is the act of serving. From a worldly perspective, serving and leading may seem like total opposite roles, but serving is a necessary part of leading, and Jesus embodied the perfect example of a servant leader throughout his life and ministry. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus carried out a mission to serve others and rescue the lost. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, He served the people whom He came in contact with, unconcerned with the reputation that would lead to or what the consequences would be in order to carry out His mission, “...to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Through the powerful miracles that He performed, people who were sick, broken, hungry, and even dead were healed, fed, and brought back to life. Through His teaching, He brought truth about the kingdom of God and how to live in grace and obedience to God. He came not to bring judgment and condemnation, but to bring rescue and new life. He came not to be served, but to serve. One great example of Jesus serving his disciple is found in John 13, where he humbly gets down on his knees, gets his hands dirty, takes a towel, and washes 34
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the feet of his closest followers. After He does this, He says in verses 14-16, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” It seems crazy that Jesus would do this for his disciples, but He was displaying for them and for us an example of what a true servant leader looks like. I am encouraged by this and challenged all the time to strive to serve my family, my neighbors, our ministry volunteers, and our people in this humble way. As a worship leader, one of the greatest parts of my job is seeing people of all ages worship God and experience His presence. All the resources spent planning, preparing, and coordinating are more than worth it when the time comes that we get to gather as a church body and begin praising God and experiencing Him in big ways. Serving is an important part of what makes this happen on a weekly basis and can be practically carried out in many ways from day to day. I am thankful for a team of volunteers who serve in huge ways, and I love serving them and serving with them. I never want to lose sight of the importance of serving our Lord and serving others. At some point or another in life, you may have found, or you will find, yourself in a place of leadership and influence. Think about how you can lead by serving those whom you lead, however big or small the service is.
Lives can be changed for the sake of the gospel, just because of a simple act of humble service.
Everyone has talents, abilities, connections, and influence. May we never stop striving to serve as our Lord served, lead as he led, and love as he loved, in order that His kingdom may advance, and His name be glorified.
Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
They devoted themselves to the apostlesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Acts 2:42
iPray is made up of volunteers who are active prayer warriors. We personally pray over others who would like someone to pray with and for them by sending in their requests. Send your request via our app, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the form located at www.bayarea.church/ipray
Serving Through Counsel by Jackie Reese
“I Love Biblical Counseling!”
what I put in our Christmas letter. It’s what I tell strangers, friends and family. It’s my passion and way that I serve God in our church. I’m sure it’s my enthusiasm that caused Kristy to ask me to write this article. I bubble over with my love for counseling. But the thing that most people will never quite understand is that I love it so much because it goes totally against my nature. It’s just not a good fit for me. It’s absolutely nothing that I ever wanted to do. And for that reason alone, I know that it’s God who has brought about this wondrous way for me to serve Him. You see, I’m not one of those “Wise Women of the Word” who always seem to have the right answer. You know that person. She’s the one that people naturally flock to for advice. It’s the person you want to be in a Bible study with because she always causes you to think deeply. She’s the one who asks the question that makes you search your soul for the truth. The one that has an uncanny way of seeing the true motivation of your action and calls you on it. That person who just knows the right way to handle a situation so that it glorifies God and encourages man. Well, that’s not me! I’m the one who is oblivious to others and quite self-absorbed. If you’re crying next to me in church, I may smile at you and pat you on the shoulder, say a silent prayer for you. But I’m not going to stop and engage you. I’m not going to ask 36
you what’s happened in your world that has caused such raw emotion to overtake you. Nope, not me. I live in my world and you live in yours. Well that was me, until… I attended my first Biblical Counseling Conference. It was about 8 years ago when my friend, Kim (pictured below), asked me to go. As I’ve already stated, I had no interest in counseling of any kind, much less Biblical counseling. I remember groaning when she asked, because it held absolutely no interest for me. But I liked hanging out with Kim. She is one of those wise
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
“old” souls. She’s 11 years my junior but far ahead of me spiritually. She has the gift of prophecy. Not the prophecy that tells you future events. It’s the prophecy that sees the world in black and white. It’s wrong or it’s right. And my friend, Kim, sees God’s truth clearly and is compelled to speak that truth to all. ALL!!! That would be the waitress serving us lunch, the sales person in the swimsuit shop, the person in the model home that just wants to show you the house. Kim can’t stop herself and it’s quite fun to be on the sideline watching her
in action. Not so much fun to be the one she’s intensely questioning, but that’s a whole other story. Back to the conference. It was called NANC at the time, now ACBC – Association of Certified Biblical Counselors – and it was life changing. Truths of God were presented in practical, concrete, understandable ways. Kim and I would look at each other and ask, “Why have we never heard this before?” It was 30 hours of intense teaching. Too much to understand, but fortunately we were armed with notes and books to supplement the teaching. Whew! Kim was on fire. She changed churches to one that had a Biblical counseling ministry. She got certified. She counseled. I wasn’t willing to attend a church 45 minutes away, so I muddled along taking counseling classes and reading counseling books. One day Kim called to tell me that Bay Area First Baptist Church in League City, just 5 minutes from my house, was beginning a Biblical Counseling ministry with training – that was the carrot. She made me promise to try it, even though my husband and I were perfectly happy at the church we were attending. Kim is persuasive! So, in April of 2013, we visited Bay Area Church. We liked it – the preaching was right on target, the music prepared our hearts for worship, we prayed, we finished out our ministry commitments at the church we were attending and in June we made the move to Bay Area Church.
My training to counsel was a process. When I was finally certified by Bay Area Church to counsel, I had gone through many classes both in our church and through the counseling community. But still I felt unprepared to counsel. What could I possibly offer someone? How would I know what area to work on? What would I say to show them the right way to love and to live? How could I possibly get them to change their wrong thinking? What did I know about helping someone to change the course of their life? How would I discern the truth in their life from the lies they were believing? What if it didn’t work? What if I left them off worse that before? Yikes! But the reality was that my life had been changed by the counseling truths that I had learned and applied to my life. Relationships had been saved and restored because I learned that I couldn’t control that person that drove me crazy. I could only control the way that I thought about her, the way that I spoke to her, the way that I treated her, the way that I prayed for her. And, glory to God, as I began to truly love her, she also began to respond in love toward me. As I forgave again and again and again that person that had inflicted evil on me, God’s peace filled my heart and mind. I moved toward reconciliation. Miracle of miracles! Love triumphed! Truly only God could be audacious enough to expect you to forgive the unforgivable. And only God could bring about
AS I EXPERIENCED THE HEALING AND RESTORATION THAT CAME FROM FOLLOWING GOD, I BEGAN TO WANT TO HELP OTHERS EXPERIENCE THAT SAME THING. true reconciliation in return for your trust and obedience. As I experienced the healing and restoration that came from following God, I began to want to help others experience that same thing. Even if I didn’t know what I would say. Even if I got the problem totally wrong, I knew that God would still work on their behalf because that is who God is. He’s perfect and caring. He’s the True Shepherd who doesn’t leave us lost and alone. He knows exactly the condition of our heart. He knows what needs to change. And how to do it. And so, I took the plunge into counseling. And, of course, God proved Himself to be perfectly faithful. www.bayarea.church
As I listen to someone’s story for the first time and my mind is filled with all kinds of thoughts and doubts – “Lord, I have nothing to offer this person.” “Lord, I can’t go through this with her. It’s too hard.” “Lord, I don’t know what to say.” “Lord, help me to help her.” I know that I can lean fully on God for His wisdom. When it is my turn to talk, I have the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction. I begin speaking about who God is and how precious His thoughts are about this woman, how much He loves her, how valuable she is to Him. I speak about the Truth that He wants her to understand. And amazingly, I am given courage and boldness to speak God’s words into her life. We’re both given His hope, the only true hope - that God is able to do all things, that following Him is hard, but it can be done. Hard because we have to relinquish the hold and control we want for our life, our dreams, our future. But easy because He promises to go with us. He even reassures us that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. He promises that His way is the best way and it leads to the abundant life both now and into eternity. Because I know that I have nothing particularly brilliant to offer, I can put myself aside and quietly sit to watch God work in the life of others. It’s a front row seat. It’s a marvelous thing to experience the God of the universe in action – lining up people’s thinking with His, changing the way they begin 38
to view themselves and others. When you see someone begin to trust God to move on their behalf, to face the future with confidence and joy, to love that unlovable person in their life, you get to see the beauty of a life following hard after God. It’s an amazing thing to behold. This service I offer to God is really His gift to me. I love counseling! Oh, by the way. If, like me, you have never had a desire to counsel, guess what? You are also called to counsel. Yep! Colossians 3:16 “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Better sign up for the class.
Interested in becoming a Biblical Counselor, or going deeper with your walk? Send an inquiry to email@example.com and we’ll help you get started.
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Need to talk? SEND YOUR REQUEST VIA OUR APP, OR THROUGH THE FORM LOCATED AT BAYAREA.CHURCH/LIVINGWATER
GOD & GROCERIES • PART 2 BY ALY NICKERSON GIRLS MINISTER As I sat in my seat on our Southwest Airlines flight
for our High School missions trip to Boston, I felt expectant for what God would do. My prayer was for Him to do more than I could ask or imagine, but there was also one specific thing that I wanted to happen. I hoped to run into Krystie again at Stop & Shop from the previous year’s trip. When we landed in Boston, we hit the ground running with our prepared plans for the week. Throughout the week, we went on multiple grocery shopping trips and each time I left disappointed. Krystie was no where to be found at the checkout lines. I began to wonder if she didn’t work there anymore. On the last day, I was making a sandwich in the kitchen of the church where we serve. I was cutting into an avocado when the knife slipped and sliced my thumb. The cut was deep. We only had a few cheap band-aids and I knew this cut needed some special attention, so I planned to make a trip in the evening to the grocery store. One leader and a few students came with me for our band-aid errand. We quickly grabbed what we needed and made our way to the checkout line. I put my things down on the conveyor belt and as I looked up to greet the cashier, I was stunned. Wide eyed I said, “Hi. Is your name Krystie?” The woman responded with a look of confusion, “Yes, it is…” I said, “You may not remember me, but I was hoping I would run into you again after praying with you outside last year!” Krystie’s mouth dropped open and she excitedly said, “AH! Yes, I remember you! How are you? I could definitely use some prayer again. I get off in a few minutes, should I meet you out front again?” To say that my heart was exploding inside is an incredible understatement. I could not believe what God had done. He had used a kitchen knife disaster and turned it into an answered prayer! In that moment I knew that scar on my thumb would now be a daily reminder of God’s faithfulness! I sent the leader and students into the car to pray and I waited outside 40
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
for Krystie. As Krystie walked outside, so did another cashier, Stephanie, who had bagged our groceries. I could tell she was very curious about what was happening and she inserted herself immediately into the conversation I began having with Krystie. “How are you? What can I pray about for you tonight Krystie?” I asked. She went on to tell me how things have gotten better for her since the previous summer, but she really desires to be in a relationship with a man that makes her feel valued and loved. The other woman chimed in speaking about how many terrible relationships she has been in. She said she just got out of an abusive relationship with a man she met online and how he made her feel worthless. She said she didn’t think she would ever be able to find anyone who would make her feel the way she desired and could never trust anyone again. After listening to the brokenness the two women spoke of, I then proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes sharing the gospel and what relationship with God looks like. I shared with them that though I am married, even my husband doesn’t satisfy the ache in my soul to be fully seen and fully loved all the time. My husband is wonderful, but there are times he certainly falls short to love me with a passionate, biblical, perfect kind of love. God is the greatest lover of my soul and a relationship with Him is like no other. The two women stood listening to me. Krystie was more open, while Stephanie was pretty hardened to
what I was saying. I could tell she has had a lot of pain in her life causing some very high walls. Krystie mentioned she didn’t have much time, but that she really wanted to be able to pray with me. I asked Stephanie if she wanted to join us. She cautiously said yes and I grabbed both their hands.
When I finished praying, Krystie was crying and Stephanie had this softened look on her face. I hugged them both. I exchanged numbers with Krystie and we all made our way to our vehicles. About 30 minutes later I received a text from Krystie, “It was so nice to see you and really nice that you remembered me. I would like my faith and self worth to be as strong as yours one day. You are very kind. Safe travels back to the fabulous Lone Star State.” I know full well that any good in me is in direct relation to the God who saved me, healed me and redeemed my brokenness and it is always such a gift when God chooses to use us for His glory. During the Boston trip in 2017, God taught me to keep my eyes up in every area of my life for how He might want to use me. In 2018, God taught me that He can take the most frustrating and painful circumstances and use them for our good. At the time I saw my cut thumb as an inconvenience, but what it turned out to be was an opportunity to be used by God in His pursuit of two women at the grocery store. God uses everything, friends. There isn’t a thing that slips through His hands. What we view as messy, God sees as opportunity. What we see as broken, God sees as an opportunity for redemption.
We stood there as strangers, hand in hand, in front of that grocery store and I prayed for God’s love and pursuit over their lives.
Serving in the Middle East by Moriah Foreman
“I love these people so much!”
It was something I had heard many
people who had been to Lebanon before me say emphatically over and over again, and to be honest, I didn’t quite understand it. I’m sure they are lovely people, but you only spent 10 days with them. How could you love them that much in such a short time? “I love these people so much!” This time I was saying it, just a few days into the trip in August of 2018. It all made sense now. I understood the depth of what I had heard so many times before. I understood how quickly heart connections
form and the people you only met just a day or so ago suddenly feel like people you have known your whole life. I truly love the Lebanese people and I miss them deeply. Their kindness and warmth, their curiosity of Americans and willingness to teach us the Lebanese way, their hospitality and genuine nature, their smiles…yes, I only spent 10 days with them, but I love my Lebanese brothers and sisters in Christ, those we spent time with during outreach, and the kiddos. Oh, the kiddos! When I left for Lebanon, I fully expected a passion for the women’s ministry and outreach to take hold of my heart,
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
and while it did to some degree, I was surprised to realize that my true passion was with the kids. Our team had the privilege of serving alongside Lebanese leaders in a 2-day VBS. The first day I was with a group of 10-11-year-old girls. My day was spent being called “Madame,” holding hands or linking arms with a different girl every couple of minutes, and if any of the boys would come over to say hello to the American, the girls would shoo him off before he could even get a word out. It was a no boys allowed day! The second day of VBS I was with a completely different group
of youngsters. I’m not going to lie to you, I was terrified! I had heard stories of this age group from the previous day and to be perfectly honest, as our team was divided out into groups, I stood there sending up a silent pray…”Please, not 11-12-year-old boys…not that group!” Then I heard my name, “Moriah, you are with 11-12-yearold boys!” I smiled, trying to instill some courage in my heart, as I walked over to my group of nineteen Lebanese boys! Thankfully, I was not on my own, I was assisting a Lebanese leader, but as the only girl, I knew I would have to be creative in building a connection beyond the language barrier and earn their respect for the next six hours. It wasn’t long before the boys started arm wrestling, an activity that the girls from the previous day had oddly not felt the need for… go figure. Before I knew it, a boy was standing in front of me with his arm out gesturing that he wanted to arm wrestle with me. Here was my opportunity! As I took his hand, the other boys gathered around to see how the match would turn out. The challenge began, and after a little while, I slowly pushed his arm down to the ground. Cheers of shock erupted from the crowd of eighteen boys watching! Another boy stepped forward with a look of determination on his face. The match began and ended with the same result. Now, I’m not going to say I won every match but what I will say is after winning a few, the boys’
demeanor toward me changed. As silly as an arm wrestling match is, I think it won me their respect. Throughout the remainder of the day, they would randomly come up to me, point at my arm, and say, “Strong!” with a big smile. Before leaving for Lebanon, a previous team member had asked me to be on the lookout for a particular little boy. It turns out, this boy was one of the nineteen in my group. As I introduced myself to him, I told him I was her friend and showed him a picture of her. His face lit up! “Friend!” he kept saying with a thick Middle Eastern accent as he pointed to me and the picture. I nodded and we were as thick as thieves for the rest of the day. He stayed right by my side, following me everywhere. He knew some English, enough to translate a few basic things to the other boys and help me answer a few questions from the other kids. If any of the kids came up to me, speaking in Arabic sentences though, he would tell them “No! No Arabic! English, English!” At one point during the day, I was charged with guarding a pile of bags and equipment the leaders had brought. I still had my little friend following me around and when he realized what I was doing, he stood about five feet in front of me. Before any of his friends could even make it near me or the equipment he would spout out something in Arabic sending them off in the other direction. This little boy is the sweetest thing, a natural born leader, eager
THESE KIDS AND I COULDN’T EVEN HAVE A CONVERSATION BECAUSE OF THE LANGUAGE BARRIER, BUT THAT DIDN’T MATTER. LOVE IS A LANGUAGE ALL IT’S OWN AND THIS LANGUAGE IS UNIVERSAL! to learn and attentive to the Gospel! When the day came to an end, he went through the door of the chain-link fence to wait his turn to climb on the bus as I stayed on the other side. I was fighting back tears when I looked up to see him leave his place in line and walk toward where I was standing. He stuck his small hand through the fence, reaching for my hand. We stood there for several minutes, unable to communicate with words, but communicating so much friendship by holding hands through a chain-link fence until the last second when he had to dash onto the bus. My day www.bayarea.church
ended so differently than it began. I started the day fearful of being placed with 11-12-year-old boys and after six hours of being with that group I finished my day wishing it would never end. I wanted it to start all over again! God used my weaknesses, He brought me out of my comfort zone and used my fear of trying to lead nineteen Lebanese boys to bless me in ways that I could never have imagined. I love these people! These kids and I couldn’t even have a 44
conversation because of the language barrier, but that didn’t matter. Love is a language all its own and this language is universal! This became so clear throughout my time in Lebanon. There were times that I wished the language barrier would disappear for just a few minutes so that I could have a conversation with them. I wanted to encourage them, I wanted to share the love of God with them, but I couldn’t through words. While there were times that we could
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
communicate through a translator, for the most part, the only thing I could do was send up a silent prayer, smile, win an arm wrestling match, and hold a hand through a chain-link fence. I love these people! I could go on and on telling story after story of my time in Lebanon. I can tell stories of the unbelievable hospitality these beautiful people share with their guests when they have so little compared to the American lifestyle. I can tell stories of
how they celebrated my life on my birthday so genuinely like we had known each other for years. I can tell heartbreaking stories of the trials they have faced and continue to battle, trials that we will never come close to facing. I can tell a story of how an expectant Syrian refugee crossed the border into Syria to have her baby and then hiked back to her home in Lebanon three days after, newborn in tow, all because the medical care was too expensive in Lebanon and
without her husband because if he crossed into Syria he would be forced into the Syrian army. I can tell you stories of singing Revelation song a Capella in a chapel on a hill, Lebanese and American alike and feeling the Holy Spirit fill that place. I can tell stories of how we sat in the living room of a Muslim family praying fervently as the Gospel was shared in Arabic. I can tell stories of how we sat on lawn chairs in a hot, musty building worshiping our Savior and King via YouTube
videos in English and Arabic and the Holy Spirit fell immediately. The stories keep on rolling and I was only there for 10 incredible, short days. I love those people and I love that place! God is at work in the East and I am thankful to have had a small part in it. I pray He takes me back someday. My heart longs for Lebanon!
My parents went to Israel in 2016. When they came
back they couldn’t help but talk about it for months. I could see the look on their faces change and sometimes their eyes even water when they would tell stories about the trip. I was grateful they had such a good time but never thought my husband and I would get the chance to go anytime soon. In 2018 we were gifted with half of a paid trip and saved our money for the rest. In a way, we felt prepared because my parents had already been and told us so much, but we really had no idea how much it would change our perspectives and relationship with the Lord. Being in Israel is a surreal experience. I can remember so many times just looking out at the places we were with amazement that we were actually there, right where Jesus and his disciples were. I can remember standing by the Sea of Galilee with my parents and talking about how it felt like we were in a dream. Although now when I read through the Bible those places are more real to me than ever. I will never forget what is like looking out over the Sea of Galilee from the top of Mt. Arbel, or touching the Western Wall with my own hands. The opportunities you get on this trip are different than any other. Pastor Brian really has a way of making every part of the trip impactful.
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
One of my favorite parts of the trip were the relationships we developed. We were able to spend so much time with people from our church and the other churches who joined us. In the beginning we all boarded the plane as strangers. Quickly, we became dependent on each other and formed bonds that will never be forgotten. Its funny how going through the challenges of this trip brings people together. When I see my ‘now’ friends at church my mind takes me back to standing on the top of Mt. Carmel together, swimming with them in the Salt Sea, staying up late and drinking coffee with them by the Sea of Galilee, or how much I depended on them while we were hiking through the desert with the sun blazing down on us. We are all back our normal lives again but we have beautiful memories we will never forget. My husband and I are so grateful we were able to go. Now we are the ones who can’t help but talk about it often, or even get tears in our eyes when we read in the Bible about the places we stood. Our love for the Lord was not dependent on this trip but it did open our eyes in new ways and made the pages of the Bible even more real to us. We hope we get the chance to go again and would suggest this trip to anyone who wants to take a step closer to understanding the life and heart of our Christ.
ISRAEL by Taylor Stringer
Join us on the Less-Strenuous Israel Tour December 1-12, 2019 or in the Summer of 2020, from May 30th - June 10th. More details can be found at www.legacymilestones.com
Serving the Church by Alan Hutchins, Elder
“Service Above Self”
This is the motto of the Interna-
tional Rotary Clubs – a recognizable service organization giving back to their local community through programs, and projects SERVING OTHERS across the globe. When I was a member of Rotary, this motto stuck with me during that time …… and has ever since. Another Rotary motto was - One Profits Most, Who Serves Best. I always loved that one, too. But what do those mottos really mean? What does that look like in one’s life? Before we get into that, let me briefly share my own experience. Praise God, I am grateful He gave me the spiritual gift of service/ helps and encouragement. Over the last 40 years, He has rewarded me over and over with a heart of peace and joy through service opportunities at church, at home, at work and in my community. I’ve always felt that God is who gives me breath every day, and all I have is really His, so its easy to serve Him. He has blessed my family tremendously as we have tried to follow His will, as we love Him and serve and love others. Now honestly, I may not be quite so service oriented and helpful, if it wasn’t for my wife, Jan. She is a registered nurse and God gave her the gifts of service that include mercy, compassion and kindness. She reminds me often of the need to put others above self. She reminds me not with words, but with her life actions. At my company, 48
A&A Machine & Fabrication, we feel an obligation to give back to the La Marque and Texas City areas. Both of our families and the A&A founders passed down to us the need to give back, and to give back to others through what God has blessed us with. God also allowed us to pass the gift of service to our kids and they served at Bay Area Church. It’s important these days to teach our children to think more of others
motto “Service Above Self”, let’s look at Webster’s dictionary definition of service. Webster’s defines service as, “the action of helping or doing work for someone.” This is often heard as in “millions are involved in voluntary service.” Synonyms are: act of assistance, good turn, favor, kindness, helping hand, assistance, help, or aid. So, you might hear it said as, “he or she has shown great kindness and a helping hand.” In Webster’s
and do more for others than ourselves. Just think what tragedies could have been averted if parents taught every child across the globe, ‘“Service Above Self”.’ Jan and I are grateful to God for allowing us to serve Him together as a couple and a family over the years. Well, for further analysis of the
dictionary, where it says, “the action of helping or doing work for someone,” the word “work” usually invokes a question of pay or compensation. I would modify Webster’s definition to read, “the action of helping, sharing your gifts with others, or doing a kind deed for someone.”
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
You see, this new definition does not require any kind of payback. Earthly payback may come as a result of your service, but the motivation can never be from the desire to realize that public recognition, reward, trophy, or even appreciation. The recognition may come, but by God’s definition of service it cannot come to you because you have desired it, or you covet it. So, to me, “Service Above Self” means an act of assistance or helping someone with no regard for yourself, and also knowing it comes with some cost. There is always some cost to service, right? Time, energy, money, resources…it is truly giving of oneself. “Above Self” means the act or deed has to be done without regard to comfort. It is done with a heart wanting to help, expecting nothing in return, no pay, no trophy, no special recognition. But don’t be discouraged when you read that. For that is not God’s purpose in giving us the gift of service. You see, service itself is a gift of God! Nevertheless, praise God because HE will provide the reward and recognition. We can expect him to bless us. One of those blessings is the impact on our heart. And when I say heart, I mean one’s very soul. Through serving, God blesses us with a peaceful heart, a joyful heart, a grateful heart, a full heart. If you have ever served, done a kind deed or helped anyone in need, didn’t you feel a special satisfaction deep down in your heart? Think
about that time you were serving and see if you recall that feeling. Let’s call that feeling a peaceful, joyful, grateful, and full heart - a heart after God’s own heart. A heart that is not looking inward, but always looking outward, knowing God brings the RIGHT reward for each of us at just the right time when we are serving. This then becomes an eternal reward, instead of an earthly one. But, you probably will not have the full feeling of a heart after God’s own heart, if you are coveting recognition. The other great thing is that serving means that God is glorified, because service is truly a gift from God’s character. It is in His character to serve mankind. He gave His only Son for you and I, to serve us and die for our sins. That’s the gospel my friend and the ultimate act of service. “Service Above Self” means your “heart” becomes the helping hands, and the gift or reward for the doer is that your heart will be at REST. It will be a heart after God’s own heart. We cannot conclude our knowledge of serving until we look at what the Bible has to say about service. Look at how Jesus, when he speaks, connects the heart with service to others. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (WHAT TREASURE?) Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks, they can immediately
DO NOT GROW WEARY IN DOING GOOD BECAUSE GOD IS REWARDING YOU WITH A HEART AFTER HIS OWN HEART. open the door for him.” - Luke 12:34-36 (NIV) Service is the treasure!!! Wow, to line up with God’s own heart, we must be waiting, looking for opportunities to serve. To serve others means we are showing we love God. Look at what Jesus says in this verse about how and where the reward for giving or service is done: “So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” - Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But www.bayarea.church
store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:1921 (NIV) Wow, Jesus connects our serving with our heart, with storing up treasure. Will my treasure and your treasure be on earth seeking mortal recognition? Or will it be eternal, satisfied with the rewards from God, like a heart after His own heart? And we must conclude with Galatians 6:7-10, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good
(SERVICE), for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (SERVING). Therefore, as we have opportunity (SERVE), let us do good (SERVE) to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” We will reap what we sow. We have all lived that Scripture. In closing, if you are serving, GOD BLESS YOU!!!! If you are serving at BAC – God bless you! Do not grow weary in doing good because God is rewarding you with a heart after His own heart. When serving you are fulfilling Matthew 19 in storing up treasure in heaven and not on earth. And don’t desire the recognition - desire a heart after God’s own heart. I promise you, HE will see it done.
Bay Area Church • 4800 West Main • League City, TX 77573
If you are NOT serving. I have two words for you: START SERVING. Serve at church, serve at home, serve at work, and serve in your community. Serve someone, somewhere! At Bay Area Church, find a place to serve…I promise you BAC needs service volunteers. No BAC ministry will ever say, “We are full of service volunteers already, come back another time!” Also, find one person, or find one organization outside of church to start serving. Give back and you will receive God’s gift - a heart of REST! A heart after His own heart! And you will understand what “Service Above Self” means. Receive God’s perfect gift of service to mankind TODAY...START SERVING.
The New City
Follow along with us each week at www.bayarea.church/qna
We’re posting one question and answer per week, for 52 weeks in 2019, based on the New City Catechism. Our hope is that you will take the time each week to memorize these questions and answers in an effort to strengthen your biblical knowledge and to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). We hope that you will find this resource to be useful in your study time, and especially as you discuss what you are learning in small groups or with family.
Books available today in the Legacy Resource Center
Artwork by Ethan Fitzpatrick, 10th Grade BACS Student
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