meeting PresidentMeeting Important People

Central Theme:  As the Lord leads, we can have influence on many people.

Call to Worship: Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone (Mark 16:15).  

I will tell you what he has done for me (Psalm 66:16)

Introduction—Many years ago, a young man moved down the street from us.  He was living with friends.  He was from Canada and beginning a small ministry.  My husband and I worked hard to introduce him to some important people in the area.  That young man has become pretty famous and infamous TV evangelist.  At different times in our lives we will be thrown with people who are famous.  Paul was in prison but he was meeting important people.  Have a member read Psalm 66:16.

I.    The Romans had put Paul in jail.  In addition, the Jewish leaders were still trying to kill him.  Paul didn’t want to go free because he believed that the Jews would kill him. (Acts 25:13-26:32).

A.    The Roman governor was Felix.  Paul was called before him many times.  Felix wanted to set him free; but he also knew the Jews would kill Paul.  Then Festus became governor.

B.    One day King Agrippa visited Paul.  Agrippa was a Jew, like Paul.  Paul told Agrippa about Jesus.  King Agrippa asked, “Do you think you can convince me to become a Christian?”  Paul said, “I wish everyone could be like me, except for these chains.

C.    Everyone agreed  that Paul had done nothing wrong.  They wanted to set him free.  Nevertheless, Paul said that he wanted to have a trial before Caesar, the Emperor of Rome.  As a Roman citizen he could do that.

II.    Because Paul was in prison, he was able to tell many important people about Jesus.

A.    One of the worst things in Paul’s life became a great blessing because Paul followed the Lord and obey him.

B.    Paul obeyed God and did what the Lord wanted him to do.

III.    The time for each of us to share Jesus may be during times that are hard for us.

A.    Paul said that he hoped everyone would be like him, except for the chains.

Conclusion—Can you think of a time that the Lord used you even though you were hurting?  God wants to use us all the time, not only when things are going good.

courage

Who are the helpers at church?

When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it (Gal 6:10)

In 2006, the entire nation was glued to our TV’s because two boys had been found in Missouri. Ben had been missing for four days and Shawn had been missing for 4 ½ years.  The two boys were kidnapped by a man and the police found them. Everyone is saying that a young teenager named Mitchell is the key to what happened because he was willing to help his friend in identifying a truck. We are all to be helpers for others. Have a member read, Galatians 6:10.

widowsI.  The Bible records the story of the first men who were chosen to be helpers in the church (Acts 6:1-7).

  1. The church would come together, bring their food and eat their meals together. The Jewish men were helping their older family members who were women to have food.
  2. The non-Jewish women did not have a family member to help them so they were not getting food.
  3. They complained and the Apostles decided they could not wait on the table; but they would choose men who could help these women get the food they needed.

II.  This was a severe need.  The Greek women were not being fed.  We all have concerns and problems.  God gave them men who would help the women who were not being given food to eat.

III.  What we must  understand is that God wants us to win every battle and to have the victory every time and in every way.

  1. God gives victory to his children because he loves us.
  2. Last week we had a funeral for my brother-in-law.  It was sad but wonderful because we were able to spend time together and be with the family that does not know Jesus as their Savior and we saw the young people ministering to each other.
  3. Have you ever been involved with a problem and seen God turn that problem around for your good.
  4. I have a person in my life that has tried to hurt me and my family. This person has only made us stronger people.

IV.  I had a person one time who wanted to really hurt me and for a while it seemed to work and then in my hurt, I found SpG and God gave me all you folks to love me and for me to love.

Conclusion: God doesn’t fight fair when it comes to his children. There will be people who will try to hurt you; but they cannot because God is on your side and he always gives us victory

Who are the helpers at church
When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it  (Gal 6:10:

Introduction–Some years ago, we were all glued to our TV’s because two boys were kidnapped.  Then they were found . Ben (4days old) and Shawn (4 ½ years old) were kidnapped by a man and the police found them yesterday. Everyone is said that a young teenager named Mitchell was the key to finding the boys because he was willing to help his friend in identifying a truck. We are all to be helpers for others.  Have a member read, Galatians 6:10.

  1. The story of the first men who were chosen to be helpers in the church.
  2. The church would come together, bring their food and eat their meals together. The Jewish men were helping their older family members who were women to have food.
  3. The non-Jewish women did not have a family member to help them so they were not getting food.
  4. They complained and the Apostles decided they could not wait on the table but they would choose men who could help these women get the food they needed.

All of us need help at certain times in our lives.

  1. The Lord send helpers to the church because there were older women who were not being given the food they needed.
  2. Last week we had a funeral for my brother-in-law and it was sad but wonderful because we were able to spend time together and be with the family.  We were all helping each other.  But there were some people who were doing more than their share.
  3. These men and woman and boys and girls were happy to be able to help.
  4. God has designated certain men and women who love helping.

There are other people who are better at studying and planning for the church.  We all have a special place in the church.

  1. I am usually better at planning and studying and sharing the gospel.
  2. Our teachers are all gifted in sharing God’s word with you.
  3. There are some of us who really want to be helpers.  They take up the money and help with the chairs.

All of us are important to the Lord and to the work of the Lord.  We need all of God’s people to work together and share the gifts that God has given to them.

bulliesFighting Fair

The Philistine also said, “Today I stand and make fun of the army of Israel! Let me have one of your men to fight!”  I Sam 17:10

Introduction–A few years ago, two young men tried to steal my purse from me by grabbing it and driving off in their car.  They weren’t able to get my purse or really hurt me.  You see, even through they were driving a Honda and there were two of them and only one of me, it was not a fair fight because God was on my side.  As we look at the story of David and Goliath, I want us to think about what makes a fair fight.  Have a member read I Samuel 17:10.

  1.  The story of David and Goliath.  Goliath was taunting the Army of Israel and making fun of them.  He said to send one man to fight.  (I Samuel 17)
    1. What Goliath didn’t know was that this was not a fair fight.
    2. He thought he had the advantage but God had the advantage
    3. God sent David to the camp to be able to fight Goliath and to win.
    4. What we need to understand is that God wants us to win every battle and to have the victory everytime and in every way.
  1. God gives victory to his children because he loves us.
  2. Last week we had a funeral for my brother-in-law and it was sad but wonderful because we were able to spend time together and be with the family that does not know Jesus as their Savior and we saw the young people ministering to each other.
  3. Have you ever been in a problem and seen God turn that problem around for your good?
  1. I have a person in my life that has tried to hurt me and my family.  This person has only made us stronger people.
  2. I had a person one time who wanted to really hurt me; and for a while it seemed to work. Then in my hurt, I found SpG and God gave me all you folks to love me and for me to love.

Conclusion:   God doesn’t fight fair when it comes to his children.  There will be people who will try to hurt you; but they cannot because God is on your side and he always gives us victory.


starsGlory to God in the Highest

Luke 2:6-16

Central Theme:  Christmas is a time for big changes.

Introduction–I have to admit that at Christmas I go a little crazy.  I save all year and spend all December.  I blame my parents.  They worked all year preparing for Christmas for us.  Sewing cooking and repairing, painting old bikes.  The majesty of God’s gift cannot be matched but I try every year.  READ Luke 2:6-16.

       I.     Pretend that you are a shepherd.

A. They were minding their business but God had planned a little surprise for them…before the foundations of the earth. (vs 8)

1.  What we can’t imagine is that God has exquisitely exciting surprises for our lives.

Christmas costumes 2.  Last year as I was fretting about the number of hours I spend working on costumes.  I said to the Lord, “No one’s life has ever been changed by a costume I’ve made.”  Within a few minutes,  a young woman who was a  neighbor stopped to say, “I never told you but you made a costume for me and it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.  I’ve always loved you for that.” 

B.  We fear the glory of the Lord getting too close (vs. 9).

1.  Songwriter Michael Card’s speaks of the “friend that we most fear.”

a.  we hide our faces from him–he can see us.

b.  we hide our hearts from him–he can change us.

II.     God comes again and again to assure us of his goodwill for us (vs. 10-12)

A. He never comes in the expected ways/expected times.

1.  Remember the times God spoke to you–unexpected, unprepared.

2.  You prepare your heart in a quiet place–He speaks in the shower or sitting at a red light.natures wonder

              B. Angels filled the heavens the night he was born; but only a few shepherds saw it (vs. 13-14).

                  1.  Would Disney put on an expensive, extravagant light show for a few middle-class herdsmen?

                  2.  Would you pour out your life in a place where no one will see–on one will know?

III.     Whatever he does, His purpose is to entice us come to Jesus (vs 15).

A. However, Jesus is not what you expect.

                  1.  Wherever our executive director preaches, people say, “That sermon was one of the best I ever heard.  You know, you could what you do for real people.”    We often chuckle and ask, “Then why aren’t you rich and famous?”

2.  However, there is not a mentally challenged person in Duval, Indian River or Brevard or Volusia County who doesn’t know him and all of them love him.

Conclusion–Going crazy at Christmas should be expected.  After all, God went a bit crazy with joy at the birth of Jesus.  Several angelic appearances.  An old couple unexpectedly has a baby they name John.  A host of angels.  A new star.  Yet, not embracing the Living Lord any time is a horror.

Ethel was a Bible teacher at Special Gathering.  Additionally, she wrote many books for the mentally challenged community and they were published in our monthly newsletter.  Ethel and I shared a passion for writing and Special Gathering.  Therefore, we became good friends through our shared ministry concerns.  In addition, we both excelled at “going to lunch” and we practiced that part of our friendship often.

Ethel wrote for our monthly newsletter “Connecting Point,” and she was incredibly faithful in her efforts.  Even after she moved to Volusia County, Ethel always met our deadlines; and she wrote with great skill and feeling for the special needs population.
As a Bible teacher, Ethel could not be matched.  She taught the Scriptures with a keen eye for truth and clarity.  Her class was a verse-by-verse discussion study for our readers.  It has become the model for our leadership and readers classes.
My first view of Ethel came 22 years ago through Sarah, her daughter who was mentally challenged.  It was my first year at Camp Agape, our annual ministry retreat.  Sarah was my bunk mate.  I had the top bunk and she had the bottom.
On Sunday afternoon, after two days of camp, I thought I was too tired to climb to the top bunk.  Therefore, I decided to lay on Sarah’s bottom bed, thinking that she would never notice or understand.  I was wrong!
Sarah came into the cabin and jumped me.  “Get off my bed,” she insisted. “You can’t get on my bed!”  Ethel had taught Sarah well.  It is vital for our population to understand their rights and Sarah knew that I was an intruder and she wasn’t intimidated by me.  Ethel treated Sarah as an adult, and she allowed Sarah the dignity of being valued for being a child of the Lord.
One year, in touring our campgrounds, Ethel asked Sarah what she liked best about camp.  Immediately, Sarah said, “Pool.”
Shocked, Ethel said, “You don’t know how to play pool.”  Sarah walked over to the pool table and demonstrated to her mother that she certainly did know how to play the game.  Ethel laughed, “Guess she showed me.”
Ethel was never willing to compromise her faith.  Yet, she shared the message of Jesus with compassion and great love.  Her greatest legacy is her faith in Christ and love for all people but especially for the men and women who knew and loved her through her ministry within the mentally challenged community.

Tell the good news that makes people happy

Luke 2:10

Central Theme:   Telling the good news of Jesus makes people very happy.

Introduction–Have a string of lights wrapped around your neck and drop a box of tinsel all over the floor.  Say, Christmas does not always make me happy. During Christmas time, there is too much work and you can never please everyone. But the good news of Jesus always makes people happy.  Have a member read Luke 2:10.

I.     Tell the story of the birth and the angels and the shepherds from Luke 2.

1.  The angels told the shepherds that this good news will make the whole world happy.

2.  The encyclopedia notes that Jesus is the one man who has changed the world for good more than any other person.

3.  The influence of Jesus has made the world a better place to live.

II.     The angels promised the world happiness.

A. Happiness and joy are not the same.

1.  Joy is a peace and contentment deep inside.

2.  Happiness is feeling or sense of pleasure.

B.  The angel said because Jesus was born the world would have a greater feeling of pleasure.

III.     We talk a lot about what we can do to be better Christians but I want to talk about what God has done to make our lives better.

A. God gave us Jesus to make everyone‘s lives more pleasant and happy.

B.  Our country is the result of this happiness–part of our constitution is that we have the right to try to find happiness.

C. The Howard family is going on a cruise this week.  It will make us all happy and that is part of what God wants for all of us.

Conclusion:  God wants us to be happy and he sent Jesus to make that happen.

The choice that changed everything

Nehemiah 9:17

Central Theme:  Man choices to sin and God chooses to be gracious.

A ream of paper has 500 sheets–not more and not less.  A foot is 12 inches–not more and not less.  There are many absolutes in our lives.  There are a couple of absolutes that totally changed mankind.  First, since Adam’s sin, we all choose to sin; and God always chooses to be gracious and forgive. Have a member read Nehemiah 9:17. 

I.     Tell the story of the fall and sin of mankind.

A. Eve ate the fruit and Adam followed.

B.  They were tricked by Satan.

C. God made them leave the garden but he chose to love them and forgive them.

II.     God will always choose to be gracious and loving to you.

A. We must desire God‘s love and his forgiveness.

B.  We don’t always think we need God.

III.     The ways we reject God.

1.  We decide that we can handle everything ourselves.

2.  We work toward being independent of God

3.  We want to please people rather than God

3.  We disobey God‘s laws.

A. There are unintended consequences to all of the bad choices that we make.

IV.     We should never forget that God will always show his love and graciousness to us.

Conclusions:  Each of us chooses to sin but God chooses to forgive us all the time.

God chooses to Make the World for Man

Genesis 1:1and 26A

Central Theme:  God choose to make the earth for mankind.

Introduction–Bring a basket that you have made.  This is a basket that I made.  I did not create it because I had some material to use.  I took reed and string and made it.  To create something, you must have nothing and make something from nothing.  God created the earth; but he made man from the things he had created.

I.     Have a member Read Genesis 1:1 and 26A.

A. God chose to make the earth, the sky and all creation from nothing but his Word.

              B. Then as the crown of his creation, God made a man.

C. From a man, he made a woman.

II.     Why did God choose to create the earth?

A. I believe that the Lord made earth for man.

B.  He made man for himself–He wanted a friend.

C. Tell about studying Timothy and discovering that God wanted to be my friend.

D. That changed my life.

III.     People like to argue about creation.

A. There is no reason to argue truth.

B.  Some scientists say that the idea of a God who created earth was silly.

C. However, as more and more real facts are uncovered, more and more people are agreeing that the earth was created

1.  God created the universe for man and man for himself.

2.  Give your life to Jesus in response to God’s great gift.

Conclusion–God created the earth for man and man for himself.

God can give us the power to go

Acts 1:8–Teacher Appreciation

Central Theme:  God wants us to tell people about Jesus not matter where we are.

Introduction–I can tell where I have been last week by the receipts in my pocketbook.  Pull out a couple of receipts and tell about where you were.  Even if I did not have these receipts to remind me and as a record, God knows what I was doing.  He has a record.  Every place I go I need to realize that God was with me and there were people there who are hurting.

                  Have a member read Acts 1:8.

I.     Tell the story of Paul and Barnabus

A. They were missionaries who went from place to place starting churches and telling people about Jesus.

B.  There are several books written by Henry Nowen, a Catholic priest who went to live with mentally challenged people.

1.  Everyone loves these books.

2.  But there are not many people who are like our teachers, Sam, Danielle, and Dan.

3.  They have gone to live and work with people who are mentally challenged.  Then they come each Sunday to teach you about the Lord.  All of our teachers are people who take your well-being seriously.  Doing what our teachers do will change people‘s lives.

4.  It will change the people they serve and their own lives.

II.     God wants us to reach to others and help them.

A. We can reach out to our family.

B.  We can reach out to our friends and people we know on the bus or the van.

C. We can reach out to the professionals who work with us.

A. They have lives and they hurt sometimes too.

B.  Pray for them.

III.     We may not be able to go to foreign countries; but we can pray for the people who are working with us.

A.  Sometimes they are giving up much to help us.

Conclusion      We should be willing to go and willing to pray for those who are ministering to us.

God will give us the power to confront

Acts 17:30

Central Theme:  We are able to confront others because God gives us that power.

 Introduction–Have your label out of your dress and have someone come up and tell you about it.  Ask:  Has this ever happened to you?  Paper caught on you shoe?  Tell about the woman who had toliet paper hanging from her dress as she walked through the airport.  No one told her.  Telling people bad things is hard but Paul contronted people when they were wrong.  Have a member read Acts 17:30.

I.     Tell about how Paul went to Athens and told the people they were wrong.

A. They had all kinds of gods.

B.  Paul said, I want to tell you about the Unknown God–Jesus.

II.     Being able to confront is hard but it will help us grow.

A. Bring a pearl and a shell.

B.  A piece of sand gets in the shell and the little oyster trys to get it out.

C. When we have the courage to confront we help others.

III.     Sometimes we take liberties that we should not take–other times we are shy.

A. Don’t talk to strangers.

B.  Don’t be too quick to criticize others–that is not confronting.

C. Learn how to take criticism.

D. Reach out in love and tell people when they are wrong

Conclusion      Paul had the courage to confront.  We need to take a stand against wrong and be willing to be confronted when we are wrong.

.

The Power of Courage

Acts 4:29

Central Theme:  God gives us courage to speak and do what is right.

Introduction–Bring one of your gardening books. Explain how much I love gardening and I find it easy to talk to people about gardening.  I like to share tips and information.  Explain how nobody is going to kill me for talking about my garden.  Immediately after Jesus died, arose and ascended into heaven, the church was people who loved Jesus so much that they couldn’t stop talking about Him even though it meant that they would be in trouble.  Have a member read Acts 4:29. 

I.     What would happen to you if you decided to tell every person you met about Jesus tomorrow?  Would that take real courage?

A. Would you be arrested?

B.  Would you be put in jail?

C. Would you be killed?  Would you need courage?

II.     In Acts 12:1-25, we read about a group of people who were so happy that they could not stop talking about Jesus.

A. The church leaders of the day got very angry and put their leaders in jail.

B.  James, the brother of Jesus, was killed.

C. But they had great courage.

III.     We know that Jesus has the power to change lives and we want to tell others about what has happened to us but we are afraid.

1.  God can give us courage and joy.

2.  Tomorrow ask God to give you one person who is hurting and needs your help.

A. Become their friend.

B.  Tell them about Jesus.

Conclusions:  We can make a difference in the world, one person at a time, if we have courage.  God will give us courage if we ask.

This is not an endorsement nor recommendation of this facility.  It is offered merely for information purposes.   I have not viewed these homes, nor do I have any connection to this organization.   I am simply passing on an email I received today. –Linda G. Howard

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In her late 20’s, Mindy pretty face is accented by her vibrant, chatty personality.  She lives alone in her own apartment.  Mindy is a new member of our Special Gathering.  We are a Christian program within the intellectually disabled community. Our mission is evangelizing and discipling the men and women who are developmentally disabled in our towns.

I’ve known Mindy over the years because she lived in a neighboring city; and she is an active part of the mentally challenged community.  Her past boyfriend is also a good friend of mine.  Each Sunday when she comes to our program, she has yet another story to tell about her family.

In Mindy’s tales of woe, she was the hero; and Mama or Grandmother, the villains. Because I provide her ride to our Sunday program, five of us arrive two hours early. And she helps us with our set up.  This means that for weeks, we heard about 2 hours of her tattling.  Her gossip set a negative tone for our meetings.  In the aftermath, it was hard to shake the atmosphere this fault-finding tone set, making worship difficult to enjoy.

One Sunday morning, before I picked her up,  I prayed about the situation. The Lord reminded me of how I would handle a similar activity had this happened when my children were younger.  I would wrap him or her in my arms and pray.  On the first indication of her gossiping tirade, I said, “Mindy, every time you talk about your mom or grandmother or anyone else, I’m going to pray that you will stop talking bad about other people.”

For about five or six weeks, she and I spent more time praying than doing anything else.  I would smile at her, open my arms and say, “Come here, girl.  We need to pray about that.”  She never resisted my embrace or prayer.  Slowly, her stories became fewer and fewer.

Even more, the atmosphere of our program returned to joyful expectation, rather than discouragement and fault finding.

Last week, she said to me, “I’m so proud of my mom.  She is going to start helping my grandma.”  She proceeded with every detail but the story was positive and uplifting.  I was proud of Mindy.  She has started to learn.

As we sat drinking coffee after the building was set up and I listened for the 15th time to how Mother was going to help Grandma, I was grateful for the power of prayer.  Also, I was reminded of the power of our words.  Mindy’s chatter was helping to set a positive expectancy for Special Gathering, rather than a pall of negative thoughts.

Now all I need to figure out is how do I keep her from repeating her stories 57 times.