Southside Baptist Church, Sebring, Florida
We have been in Florida for over a month now and have begun to get used to the sun, humidity, rain, alligators, hurricanes and our new way of life. Both of our girls have started school and have found the transition to be demanding, but seasoned with new friends and opportunities. Nicole has begun her RN job at Florida Hospital and has seen the Lord at work through various open doors and providing guidance through a number of required classes and exams to prepare her for the surgical and recovery rooms.
We are praising the Lord for his blessing on the youth ministry at the church as with the addition of four youth aging into the youth group and two new youth to the area and church, our core for Sunday School and Wednesday evenings is at 10. With the start of the Awana ministry on Wednesday evenings, which brings a number of “outside” people to the church, we have seen five others (Sam, Sheldon, Mitzel, Angel, Kristina) connect and hear God’s Word.
A desire of the church is to connect with the younger generation in the Sebring area. We began a younger adult class to encompass a wide demographic (single, college, young marrieds, young marrieds with children, etc.) that will focus on a biblical approach to fellowship. The Koinonia Class started on Sunday, September 4 with a total of 10 attendees. Praising the Lord for humble beginnings and the opportunity to model and disciple others in the essential elements of the gospel, community and mission.
Relationships and names. During our transition to a new area of the country and a new church, it has been a real joy for our family to meet new brothers and sisters in Christ. We stand in awe as we hear testimonies of how the Lord has worked in and through our new friends. Although we haven’t mastered everyone’s name yet, the relationships and foundations we share in Christ have stabled our minds and encouraged our hearts.
Key Prayer Requests
Praying for the continued growth (physical and spiritual) of those in the youth group. We have a small core group with a number of visitors from low-income and broken homes. Praying we can be a place of refuge and hope as we share the gospel and biblical principles.
Praying for the younger adult ministry as we explore building biblical fellowship. We currently have three couples and four single ladies in this class. Our desire is that through prayer, training and outreach that the Lord would transform this core group into leaders of future Koinonia groups to make disciples.
Praying for intentionality and prioritizing of my role as a child of God, husband, father, pastor, son, brother, friend and member of our community.
Praying that the Lord would direct the right people to Fargo, ND to buy our home.
God has a plan for our lives. We have prayed and preached the following truth to our own hearts as well as to our two young daughters (14 and 10) during the recent transition to Florida—there is no better place to be than in God’s will, and no worse place to be than outside of God’s will. The process of trusting and obeying through the dark and difficult times is only possible in the power that God supplies. Left to ourselves, the anxiety and tension that so easily grabs hold of our hearts and minds places all attention on self and circumstances rather than on the One who is in control.
Through the proclamation, presence and persuasion elements of evangelism I was reminded by a missionary couple that people are always watching and evaluating our faith and motives. The saying is true that people are not likely to care how much you know until they know how much you care. It was a blessing to have our girls hear and be a part of such a powerful evening as we often encourage our girls to “Be a light” to others around us who are without the light. We never know what impact or influence the Lord will use through our response to life’s joys and challenges. No matter the context, my wife and I were challenged and reminded to live life with intentionality and with the light of Christ amidst a dark and needy world.
I need to continue to be in prayer for providential moments, be watchful for opportunities, be willing to speak, and to remember to thank God for opportunities to share my faith. Indeed, the more you pray, the more God seems to give you in this regard. I was recently challenged in my reading and thinking to pray as I enter each door that I go through in a day for such an opportunity. There are thousands upon thousands of doors in our area, may the Lord lead us and prepare us to enter them boldly and with great confidence in His “happenings.”
The saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie. Responding to a bullying incident directed at my youngest daughter we concluded that our focus needs to be on glorifying God in our response and behaviors and remember Jesus’ reply, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (Matt 22:36-40). Although difficult and against what we feel inside, as believers we are the ones that need to model grace and mercy, even to those that oppose us. As we walked through some verses and ended in prayer, I asked my daughter to be praying for these bullies and to continue to be a light that shines for Christ, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you“ (Matt 5:44). It also provides a great opportunity to rely on God’s power as “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26).
Key Goals for the Next Month
Ministering to my wife and daughters by ensuring our weekly devotional times together.
Intentionally investing time with two young men (Cole and Daniel) in discipleship role each week.
Continue to develop and implement elements of my two projects focusing on an assimilation strategy for the church as well as leading a younger adult ministry. Complete proposals.
Schedule a youth group and parent event to build fellowship, provide vision, hand out calendar, and obtain contact information.
Worship at our new church.
Meeting with a shut-in couple who despite their ailments, joyfully minister in prayer and giving.
Leading a ladies Sunday school class.
Being a part of an exciting youth and young adult ministry.
Getting to know our new church family.
Key Prayer Requests
We have a unique situation where we need to move out of our current rental home in mid October. Unfortunately, our house back home has not sold leaving us with a lot of uncertainties and needed prayer. Please pray our home sells soon and our living situation is smooth for our girls and family. I also need prayer for a critical care course I am studying for (for work). The major exam is at the end of October.
To trust completely in His plan for us. I was questioning all of this extra study (just took EKG exam for my new job at hospital), especially with the timing and ability to focus on this right now. However, I learned in passing my exam with a good score that the Lord has made this path for me and will give me all I need. The studying has been a good distraction for me as well as making me a better nurse. The Lord is so good.
Key Goals for the Next Month
To continue to really get to know faces and names, as well as building new relationships at church.
I want to invest myself into the lives of our members and be a blessing to them through hospitality, visiting and prayer.
To find that alone time with each of my girls.