Fleece Blankets Servolution Project

On Saturday, February 26th, 2011, eleven members of The Tree spent the day tying fleece blankets and enjoying each other’s company.  At noon, they broke for a lunch of tacos and everyone ate till their fill.  It was a great day of fun and friendships and thirty-one blankets were made to give to the nursing home residents.  Showing God’s Love Through Simple Acts of Kindness!

Yard Sale – Saturday, February 19

On Saturday, February 19, 2011, the Youth and the Women’s Ministries joined forces with a church wide yardsale to raise money for the youth to go to Acquire The Fire and the women to support various Servolution Projects.  It was a great day and $1900 was raised to further the Kingdom!

 

A Love Encounter

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
   Romans 5:8

Recently, I was listening to a song sung by Kim Walker-Smith, one of the worship leaders for the band, Jesus Culture.  It’s my newest favorite,  How He Loves Us.  It’s eight minutes and fifty-three seconds of pure passion.  At one point of the song, she stops singing and starts talking about how much God loves us and how that once we encounter God’s love, we are never the same. 

Today I got to watch a woman experience God’s love.  I’m not going to go into her specifics; she’d suffered a terrible tragedy twenty-six years ago and although she’d learned to live with it, she could never escape from the pain of it.  I really don’t know her church history, but I know a couple of months ago I’d spoken to her and she wasn’t really interested in church.  She’d had some bad experiences with church people and she was happy to steer clear of any further pain. 

I didn’t push her or try to change her mind, but rather showed her that maybe we were a little different.  I watched her continue to come around, not to Sunday service, but to help out around the church.  One of the ladies took her under her wing and loved on her and encouraged her and on Christmas Eve, I saw her sitting in the sanctuary during our candlelight service.  The following Sunday morning, the same thing.  Next thing I knew, she was in our ladies group and sharing a bit of her story.  As I saw the pain on her face, I encouraged her to come see me privately, that we’d talk. 

Well, today she did.  And after we talked, we prayed.  And during that prayer time, and it really wasn’t very long .. probably only a few minutes, she had a love encounter with God. With the tears streaming down her face, tears of joy she assured me, she said, “Thank you Jesus, that feels so good.” 

What she was feeling was the love of God .. and she will never be the same. 

Ten years ago I had a love encounter with God and I’ve never been the same.  I want to encourage you today, God loves you.  Regardless of anything you have ever done or anything that you did not do, it’s not about you.  It’s all about HIM.  HE LOVES YOU! 

If you’ve been  seeking love in all the wrong places … maybe it’s time you gave God a chance?

Father, thank you for your most awesome, amazing, unending love.  It’s true, once we encounter your love, we are never the same.  I am so thankful that I’m not the same.  I am so thankful that you loved me first.  And I am so thankful that your love doesn’t pick and choose.  You love us all … unconditionally.   Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I love you Jesus,
  In your name I pray,
  Amen

God’s Blessings To You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

 

Love Like Jesus

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
   I Corinthians 13:13

Today is Valentine’s Day.  I was just on Facebook and there are thousands of people declaring their love for their spouses, their children and each other.  It’s a sweet day.  It seems like today most everyone is willing to say to at least someone … “I love you.”  Chocolates and roses and special cards are being exchanged today.  Love is in the air … as the old song states.

In 1 Corinthians 13, called The Love Chapter, Paul talks about love.  He has written a letter to the church in Corinth, giving them instruction and encouragement on their journey with Jesus.  They are a lot like we are today,  wanting to do right, but somewhat confused on how to stay on track.  As a result they dealt with problems like immaturity, instability, divisions, jealousy, envy, lawsuits, marital problems, sexual immorality  and the misuse of spiritual gifts.  Sound familiar?

But Paul doesn’t beat them up, he simply writes a letter to encourage them and help them get back on track.  And in the midst of that letter, he shares with them that no matter how great they think they are or what wonderful things they do, if they were not motivated by love, it means nothing.  He explains that love is the most excellent way.  He goes on to share that:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

At the Last Supper, the night before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples:  A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (John 13:34,35)

If we are followers of Jesus, we must love one another.  We are to be love. It wasn’t a suggestion.  He told them it was actually a new commandment.  So now, go back to the Love is section above and replace love with your name.  Are you patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not easily angered.  Do you not keep records of wrongs?  Do you not delight in evil but rejoice in truth?  Do you protect?  Do you hope?  Do you persevere?  Are you unfailing?  Do you love?  Ouch …not so easy is it?

I want to be like Paul.  I don’t want you to feel beat up if you fail in some areas, because we all fall short, but rather do this exercise to take inventory, see what needs some work.  I encourage you to seek God in the areas that you struggle with, release them to him and let him fill you with His love, which will then overflow from you into those around you!

Father, thank you for your unfailing love.  When the world is fickle, when one day it loves me and one day it loves me not, you are faithful and true.  You don’t just love me, but rather you are love.  It is your nature.  It is who you are.  I honestly cannot even fathom the depth of your love. Forgive me Father for not loving as you do, help me to remove the planks out of my eyes, so that I can see others as you see them and love them as you love them.

I love you Jesus!
In Your name I pray,
Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!
Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org/

Scout Sunday – February 6, 2011

On Sunday, February 6, 2011, Troop 255 visited The Tree of Life Church to celebrate Scout Sunday.  The Tree is the Charter Organization for Troop 255.  The boys did a special flag ceremony, Pastor Andrew gave them all Bibles and then sat as a group during Pastor Andrew’s message.  It was a very special day … you boys Rock!

Eagle Scout Court Of Honor – February 5, 2011

The Tree of Life’s Charter Boy Scout Troop, 255, celebrated its first Eagle Scout on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the church.  Mitch Grandy was the proud recipient of the award, having spent the last five years working toward this honor, the highest level achieved in scouting. 

Congratulations Mitch … we are proud of you!

Leadership Class

Leadership is the ability to lead, guide, or direct others to accomplish a common goal.
We all need to sharpen our leadership skills so that we can lead others to Jesus.

Join us on Tuesday nights starting          
In The Sanctuary
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Pastor Andrew is using Romans 12 as the foundation for our study on how to be better leaders and better followers of Jesus!

Romans 12

Living Sacrifices to God

 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
  
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Behave Like a Christian
  
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore “ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;If he is thirsty, give him a drink;For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Living Stone – January 2011 – Miranda Williams

Miranda Williams  – January  2011 – Tree of Life Living Stone

Miranda Williams loves kids.  And she loves Jesus.  It’s simple.  Amanda is fifteen, works in the nursery and is part of the Straight Up Youth Group.  She spends most every Sunday in the nursery  loving  on our little ones.  Her favorite people are under the age of one … one of the unique character traits that make Miranda so special.  She gives up her Sunday nights to come watch the kids while the moms spend time in Ladies Group.  Any event      needing childcare … Miranda is there.  Miranda … you are a true example of a Living Stone.  You Rock!

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
   I Peter 2:4,5

A No Turns To A Yes!

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
   – Psalm 27:14

Carson has wanted a hamster or a guinea pig for a very long time.  For years, he’s been asking me if he could have one.  And for years I’ve been telling him, “No”.  Carson eventually stopped asking, but in his heart, he never stopped longing.

Today I was with a good friend, and she asked me if the boys would like a hamster.  She had gotten one for her little girl, it was a nice hamster, but her daughter just wasn’t into it that much and she wanted to give it to someone who would love it.

I hardly even thought about it, and then said, “Yes”, the boys could have it.  She gave me all the supplies and home I went with Eeyore, the newest addition to the Schneider household.   

When Carson got home and saw Eeyore, he couldn’t believe it.  He kept saying, “I’ve always wanted a hamster.”  He was so thrilled. 

My no had turned to a yes.  The boys were more mature.  And so I decided at this point in time to say yes … and to say yes with no prompting … Carson didn’t even know I was saying yes.

Sometimes God tells me no.  And I don’t understand it.  And I beg and plead for him to change his mind, but the answer remains the same.  And eventually I stop asking, but the longing is still there.  And then, out of the blue, when I least expect it, there is a big green YES in front of me.  And just like Carson’s reaction today.  I’m thrilled.  I’m surprised.  And I’m encouraged.  And I realize that God didn’t forget about me.  He was simply waiting me to mature, for me to grow up so that I could handle the responsibility of the task.

Father thank you for the no’s in life, because I know I can trust you.  Even when it hurts.  And thank you Jesus for the yes’s, because it shows me that I am growing up and you can trust me.

I love you Jesus.
   In your name I pray,
  Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org