Kids Day Camp 2016

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Homeland’s annual day camp is coming July 28, 29, and 30th.

Kids ages 3-12 can participate.

There is no cost for this camp. Camp is from 10-3 each day and lunch is provided.

This year camp will be held at Narrow Gate Baptist Church (3743 St. Marys Pike, Parkersburg).

For more information or to register kids call Melody at 304-834-5366

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Easter weekend at Homeland

Our annual egg hunt was a great success with 88 in attendance. In addition to the eggs and candy, the kids made a cross craft with Mrs. Teena and sang songs and heard the Gospel message.

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Easter Sunday we had a great crowd downstairs for Children’s Church and the upstairs crowd wasn’t too shabby either.  ūüėČ

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What a great way to celebrate our Savior and His victory over the grave!!

-Melody Smith

District Superintendent Reynolds awarded Honorary Doctorate

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Homeland was blessed this weekend to have District Superintendent Greg Reynolds and Pastor Russell Wooten visit us. Rev. Reynolds was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate from Centurion Bible College, an independent Bible College that meets on the campus of Homeland.

Pastor Brady serves as President of CBC. Pastor Russ, from Vienna Wesleyan, serves as Vice President. Melody Smith serves as Secretary/Treasurer.

Greg Reynolds was awarded the degree based on a lifetime of service and accomplishments in the Wesleyan Church. He has served as a local pastor for 16 years and as District Superintendent for 16 years.

More information about Centurion Bible college is available at http://www.centurionbc.org or by calling the church at 304-420-9086.

Christianity without church

The Bible teaches us that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.¬† It also teaches us to be imitators of Christ.¬† Therefore, as His followers we should be lovers of the church.¬† Yet so many claim to be followers of Christ and don’t have any connection to a church.

I have probably heard just about every reason that could be given for this during almost three decades of ministry.¬† Most of the time those who give the reasons are not interested in a conversation about it.¬† It’s like they have a canned answer that frankly sounds more like an excuse.

But on the up side, after listening to them for all these years. I now have plenty of excuses not to go to church.¬† So if your pastor doesn’t show up for church on any given Sunday, just pick one of these for me.

I don’t go to church because:

                Sunday is my only day to sleep in.

                There are too many hypocrites there.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I believe in God but I don’t believe in organized religion.

                I have been hurt by a church (or churches.)

                All they want is my money.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I’m just as good as the people who go there.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† There aren’t any good churches in my area.

                We always spend our Sundays at (choose one) the lake, the river, the campground, the races.

Ok.¬† I know you’re not going to let me get by with that.¬† The church is too important to be neglected by me or by any other genuine follower of Christ.¬† Hebrews 10:25 teaches us that we should meet together for the purpose of encouraging each other.¬† 1st Corinthians 12 teaches us that the church is the body of Christ and each of us make up a different part of that body.

God designed it to be cohesive.¬† He never intended for us to be “lone wolf” Christians.¬† Instead we have the privilege and the obligation to be a specific and important part of something much bigger.¬† And because God has designed you to be a specific part of it, it is less than it could be when you withdraw from its fellowship.¬† And you are less than you could be if you were a part of its fellowship.

With that in mind, let me take a moment to tell you what I would like to tell those who offer these excuses if they were willing to stick around long enough to listen.

Sunday is my only day to sleep in.

No it isn’t. You can sleep in any day you want to.¬† What’s that?¬† You would get fired you say?¬†¬†Well of course you would.¬† I didn’t say there wouldn’t be consequences.¬† I just said you could do it.¬† Everything has consequences.¬† Even sleeping in on Sunday.

There are too many hypocrites there.

I know it.  But you might like to know that God has the same opinion of hypocrites that you do.  He is not happy with them either.  But I would rather have those hypocrites in church where they are hearing the Gospel each week than to have them stay home.   Who knows?  Maybe one of these Sundays God will get their attention and they will be done with their fraudulent living.

I believe in God but I don’t believe in organized religion.

It seems that God does believe in organized Christianity.  That is clear in the way He describes it as a body with various parts.  It is clear in many the scriptures that teach how the church is to operate organizationally.  A quick read through either the Old or New Testaments will show us that God has His people operating within a structure.

I have been hurt by a church (or churches.)

So have I.¬† In fact, I’m pretty sure that I have experienced that as much as almost anyone reading this today.¬† But I have also been hurt by people on the job, people I went to school with, and even by employees where I have shopped.¬† Most of us have been hurt by members of our own¬†family.¬† But the church is too important to walk away from over some hurt feelings.¬† When you realize how important the church is to Jesus you won’t allow a little thing like hurt feelings keep¬†you from being the part of it God made you to be.

All they want is my money.

Jesus taught that giving is a blessing and that it will be rewarded.  If you believed what He taught you would look forward to giving back a small part of what God gave you in the first place.  I know there are stories that surface from time to time about preachers living in luxury while their poor parishioners give sacrificially.  But those cases are rare when compared with the number of churches that struggle to pay the utility bills.  Most Christians count it a blessing to be able to contribute financially.

I’m just as good as the people who go there.

Assuming you are right, how does that excuse you from being the part of the body that Christ designed you to be?

You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.

Living in willful disobedience to the known will of God is not a characteristic associated with¬†being a follower of Jesus.¬† Some people are physically unable to go to church for one reason or¬†another.¬† Some just choose to do things their way instead of God’s way.¬† Which one describes you?

There aren’t any good churches in my area.

Then find the best one you can.¬† Become a part of it.¬† Then work to make it the kind of church it should be.¬† It’s easy to stand on the outside and throw criticisms.¬† How about getting in here and¬†helping us be what God intended us to be.

We always spend our Sundays at (choose one) the lake, the river, the campground, the races.

Do you know how blessed you are to be able to do these things?  So you take the blessings God has given you and make them the priority in your life.  It seems a pretty ungrateful response toward the giver of all good gifts.

 

What it is always going to come down to is this.  Is the church important or not?   Christ thought it was.  He thought it was important enough to give Himself for it.  Do you?

~Pastor Brady Stephens

If you think they aren’t listening…

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This past Sunday we had our first¬†official “multi-generational” service. We wanted to be intentional about mixing our congregation of kids and our congregation of adults together into one big church family. Instead of heading down to the basement for Children’s Church (and our usual messy games, loud songs with crazy motions, and object lessons to help teach Bible stories), we stayed upstairs with the adults for the entire service.

For weeks I had been pitching this idea to the kids. We were going to be a part of the service–singing, collecting the offering, reading announcements, etc. We would show them how to have fun! We would also be able to learn some new things about what goes on in the adult service and listen to Pastor Brady preach.

To the adults, I stressed the importance of including the kids into the church family and teaching them how to behave in the sanctuary. This was going to be good for all of us! We would all grow from this experience.

Sunday morning, 8:00 am–I panicked! These are the same kids that I have practically had to peel off the ceiling because they were so wound up at times. I have given countless speeches about things such as not jumping over pews, not throwing things at people’s heads, and not covering the toilet seat with liquid glue (yes, that happened!). What if they were in one of “those” moods? What if they were loud and rude and crazy? What if we had first time visitors and they went away wondering if we were running a church or a zoo?

In a last-minute effort to control the chaos, I pulled out an old copy of “Sermon Notes” we used to use when we didn’t have the large population of kids we have now. It was a worksheet that gave them space to draw a picture of the lesson, write down prayer requests, verses we read, etc. I handed one to each child and offered a prize and a sucker if they turned it in at the end of service.

I am pleased and humbled to say that I learned more from my church kids Sunday than they did from me. When they turned in their papers (after sitting like little angels through the service) I was pleasantly surprised to see just how well they were listening.

This is a group of kids who, for the most part, come to church without their families. Some of them have not been in church for long at all. Some of them struggle with behavior issues. Many of them have a lot more on their plates than most adults I know. This is a group of kids who I sometimes feel haven’t absorbed a single word that I say. Even with all the object lessons, videos, games, crafts, and other KidMin tricks up my sleeve, I still wonder if anything from the lesson is sinking in their little heads and hearts. But they were able to listen to a sermon right alongside the adults and…they got it!

Here are some really cool pictures from some really cool kids. This is the prophet Elijah on the mountain, calling down the fire from Heaven in front of the Israelites and the false prophets.

Here’s proof they were listening to the prayer requests and also the verses Pastor Brady included in the sermon:

And this might be my favorite…this little girl drew a fork in the road. One sign leads to Baal, and the other to the Lord.

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If you think that they aren’t listening, I hope this encourages you. We have just as much to learn from them as they do from us. Let’s be willing to teach them and let them teach us.

 

–Melody Smith

Multi-generational worship

We had a fantastic service this morning with all ages worshipping together. The children and teens did a great job helping run the service!

Downstairs, the kids have been learning about the power of God in our series, “Power Up!” Today the adults got to join in on the fun as Pastor Brady shared the story of the prophet Elijah and how he demonstrated God’s power to the people of Israel.

We plan to do these multi-generation worship services occasionally in order to help build relationships between the children and adults in our congregation. We have so much we can learn from each other!

If you don’t have a home church, we invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 10:30am.