Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teen ministry celebrates the season with giving

Our 180 youth group has been very busy with outreach projects. God is blessing the youth — and those they are touching — through these outreaches!

Kicks for Christmas shoe drive. Our teens made it to their goal of 500 pairs of brand new athletic shoes. The drive will culminate with the distribution of the shoes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday at New Heights Community Church, 340 Flomich Street, Holly Hill. Anyone struggling this Christmas is invited to attend the shoe giveaway to receive a new pair of shoes.

After an article about the shoe drive appeared in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Ormond Beach Mayor Ed Kelley delivered 20 pairs of new shoes that he himself purchased. It was his second visit recently. Back at the end of summer, he stopped by during a teen midweek service to deliver a plaque thanking the youth for their work during Summer 50, a summer of serving through projects such as raking leaves, painting and moving.

Green Pedal Bike Ministry. The youth have taken in, refurbished, and given out 650 bikes so far to those who cannot afford them.

Requests keep pouring in, but the supply of used bicycles has kept pace. “Donations have been phenomenal!” said Pastor Bill. Tom Menzel, a 180 youth partner, leads the bicycle ministry.

New bicycles given as gifts. The youth group heard about a single lady who recently began serving as a foster mother to six children -- three developmentally disabled children from two different families. The teens were moved. They decided that the bicycles for these children must be new. So they gave babysitting and allowance money, collecting enough money for five brand new bikes with training wheels and one tricycle. The teens assembled them and delivered them this past Saturday. The Guardian Ad Litem agency got wind of the gift and decided to pitch in by donating helmets for each of the six children.

More about the 180 at Tomoka youth group is online.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Discipline of Going to Church

Check out this blog by Daniel Darling, pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church near Chicago:

Going to church can become routine. I know it, because I grew up going to church three times a week (at least). It was not a choice my parents gave me. It was something we did, part of our regular routine.

As a second-generation Christian, I know full well the dangers of making spirituality overly routine. I have experienced long stretches of dryness where I was "going through the motions" and filling a pew. This can be dangerous to spiritual health. Traditionalism can become legalism. We can be satisfied with doing what we are supposed to do and avoiding spiritual introspection and growth.

However, I have come to appreciate the discipline of merely going to church. I used to say that "you shouldn't just go to church to go to church." But I've reconsidered this. The discipline of going to church every week for the majority of your life is in itself an act of worship, of sacrifice. You're saying to yourself and to the world that assembling with the called-out people of God, that the story of Christianity, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus matters so much that you're willing to dedicate at least one day a week to it.

Click here to read the remainder of his blog.