Info for Sunday Night (10/25/20)

Brett Carver will be joining us tonight for our Student Worship time. We have committed to help run the elementary club coming up on Saturday, November 14. That will take place on that day from 10am to 3pm. He will be sharing about that day and how he would like for us to serve. It will be a great challenge and time of equipping, regardless of whether students will be able to help that day or not. But I will also be getting commitments from those who can tonight. So please discuss whether or not your student(s) can commit tonight prior to coming. Parents are invited to come volunteer, too! Tonight, EVERYONE will share in planning some aspects of that day.
 
After Brett shares we will have a longer small group time. Since we will not have a message, small groups will spend some time working through a bookmark that I’ve given out walking through 6 elements that go into answering the question “How is your soul?”
 
I’ll send out a follow up tonight to remind you to walk through those 6 elements with them and follow up on their discussion throughout the coming week!

Read more...

Parent Follow Up (10/18/20)

Kelli Recicar led our time of prayer tonight. We focused on praying for Rachel, but she did an excellent job of helping the students understand what it looks like to prayer Kingdom prayers. She borrowed from a definition offered by Chris Schofield that reminds us that when praying Kingdom prayers, we are praying that God would be glorified as we pray in accordance with his will and purposes. I want to encourage you to follow up with your students this week about this. Ask them to define what it looks like to pray Kingdom prayers. How do we often pray? Is that in accordance with the Kingdom?
 
Tonight in our message and in our small groups we focused we continued our series entitled “Awake and Aware” through portions of 1 Peter. Building our our look at our new identity from 2 weeks ago, tonight we went on in 2:9b-12 to see what Peter exhorts us to do out of that new identity: “…that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Ask your students to recap for you what we learned as we explored the text together. Here are some questions for reflection that you can use this week for further conversations as well. As always, I love you and am praying for your families this week!
 

*In your own evaluation, what would prevent you or hinder you from being an effective spokesperson for the Kingdom?

*What is your life most communicating to those around you about what is truly important and to be treasured?

*Have you truly experienced this element of testimony by Peter, can you give testimony of what it is to be transferred from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of Jesus?

*What in your life proclaims to those with whom you spend the most time the excellency of Jesus? What would those who watch your life most closely know about Jesus from watching your life?

*How are you currently seek to battle against sin? How is that battle going?

Read more...

Opportunities for Students to Serve!

Hey everybody! First, I want you to know just how much I missed all of you last night! I hated that we had to cancel, but I certainly agreed with the rest of our elders that that was a part of the response we needed to have to one of our students testing positive. I am very much looking forward to picking back up next Sunday night!
 
I wanted to present some areas of need within our Body that I think could be addressed by some of you! One of the things that I desire to see happen more and more is our students plugging in to serve in different areas of the whole Body at Westwood. Over just this past week I have thought of several such areas. I am presenting those to you here and asking you to prayerfully consider volunteering. Of course, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have, or if you feel that one of these areas corresponds to your spiritual gifts and that God is leading you to jump in. Here are the areas I’d like you to consider:
 
Westwood’s Livestream: We just purchased a new computer for the sound booth that is completely dedicated to our weekly livestream. Matthew and I have finally reached a good level of confidence in our setup for that stream (I know, Matthew, I probably shouldn’t have said it! – Knock on wood!). Zach Dodson jumped on board several weeks back, and has actually been running it most Sunday mornings (Great job, Zach!). So we are at a place where we would love to train 2-3 more folks on how to do that. This would allow more of a rotation. You don’t have to have a very high level of computer knowledge to do this, but a little bit at least would be good. So if you enjoy that sort of thing and would love to learn more, let me know!
 
NOTE: You would need to be able to come to church on your Sundays to serve by 8am. Rehearsing the lyrics with the praise team while they practice is vital to this area of service.
 
FLC Set Up: Due to Covid, we are having to offer fewer adult classes and in bigger spaces. Because we lack an abundance of such spaces we are going to need to host a Sunday School class in our FLC. This means that the FLC will need to be set up each week for the class that is meeting there. The plan is for our ladies’ Sunday School class to meet there, beginning this Sunday (10/18). I’d love for a team of 2-3 people to commit to arriving at Westwood by 9:30 or shortly after to set this space up for that class. This would be a weekly commitment that would last as long as we have a class meeting in that space. At this time it appears that this set up would include several round tables and around 20-25 chairs. If you’d be willing to serve this class in this way, let me know!
 
Sunday Morning Greeters: Before COVID, Ben Wilson had been serving in the area of greeting folks each Sunday morning as they arrived at Westwood. I know that he desires to pick that back up when we get back to our normal schedule. But I also think that he would welcome some help with that! He also serves on the praise team, so it is difficult for him to be out in the Welcome Center in time to catch folks that are arriving. I think some of you guys and gals would do a WONDERFUL job in this area of service! Again, I would like to have enough folks willing to be able to schedule some sort of rotation so no one would have this responsibility every week. So I’d love for many of you to consider it! There is a bit of learning curve so that we can sufficiently anticipate and meet the needs of everyone who walks through our doors, and especially any guests that we have. I would want to walk you through some of that, but I’m sure Ben would like the opportunity to do that as well. Here are some important things for you to consider, though, as you pray through this area of service:
 
1. You will need to be available at the church and in place to serve by about 8:45am. (I would love to have enough folks to be placed at multiple entrances!)
2. You will need to be willing to be flexible, especially in light of the ongoing Covid situation, with taking certain precautions. This includes a willingness to perhaps wear a face covering in the near term.
3. You will need to also be willing to perhaps sneak out of your own Sunday School class a little early, if necessary, to be back in place shortly after 10am.
 
If you are interesting in serving in any of these areas, or if you would like more information or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I will also revisit this when we meet together again. I am praying for you as you read through this and consider serving! I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Read more...

Important Announcement

Today our elders issued the following statement to our church family:
 

“We were informed today that one of our students received a rapid Covid test today (Tuesday) that came back positive. Other members of his family were tested and they were all negative. In light of this positive test, the decision has been made that our student ministry meetings this Sunday, October 11 will be canceled. Because some of our students had planned to participate in our adult classes we will also delay the start of our fall Sunday School (for all ages) until Sunday, October 18. It is out of an abundance of caution that we make this decision. Our morning worship service will continue as planned.

This is not a surprise given the ongoing situation in our community (and country). It reminds us that we are still dealing with a virus and we need to be aware of how best to love and serve one another.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact one of the pastors.”

 
The student who tested positive was in attendance on Sunday night at our student gathering. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of this. As stated above, we will NOT meet this next Sunday night for student ministry as a part of our cautionary response to this news. I will be reaching out specifically to parents of students who were in the same small group as this particular student. Please join me in praying for a quick recovery for the student who is only experiencing very mild symptoms so far.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, again, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

Read more...

Parent Follow up (10/4/20)

Tonight we continued our series called “Awake & Aware” by seeing how the light of the gospel sheds light on our true identity in Christ. We walked through the first 12 verses of 1 Peter 2, focusing mostly on v. 9-10. We walked through the meaning of the various terms and phrases that Peter uses in these verses concerning that identity (chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, people for his own possession, God’s people, and those who have received mercy). Ask your students to walk you through these descriptions and talk about what they learned!

Also, use the following questions as discussion-starters this next week in your home. As always, I love you and your families, and are praying for you this week.
 

Questions for Reflection:

*When you take an honest evaluation of your life, what would you say are the major factors shaping your identity?

*As you look at these descriptions used by Peter in these verses, which one sticks out most in your mind? Why?

*Why does it seem to feel more comfortable sometimes to simply ignore the spiritual reality and simply blend in? Why, though, is it dangerous to do that?

*How do these designations all together offer a contrast to how the world shapes us when it comes to our posture toward others?

*As you hear these descriptions, can you say that your desire for your own life is the same desire that God has for your life? How do you need to pray this week in asking God to align your heart with his will?

Read more...

Parent Follow Up (09/27/20)

Tonight we continued our series entitled “Awake & Aware” through selections from 1 Peter. Building on last week when we saw how Jesus, in his mercy, has awakened us to new life in Him, tonight we focused on God’s big plan for all who he redeems: to bring us back to himself (1 Peter 3:18). We walked through 1:15-19 and saw two big truths:
 
(1) God’s objective for us is to make us holy.
(2) Sin is the greatest threat to this objective.
 
Ask your student(s) to share some of what they learned, but you can also use the following questions to have some follow-up discussion this week:
 
* Are the primary objectives you have for your own life in line with God’s primary objective for your life?
 
* How does this look at this passage help you understand sin and its effects?
 
* Is there sin in your life that is keeping you from growing in knowing God?
 
* How are you remaining awake and aware of God’s purposes and objective for your life?
 
* How are you remaining awake and aware of the threat of sin in you growing towards God’s intentions for you?

Read more...