Pastor’s Desk 2016-12-13

Chuck Sheridan Avatar

Good Morning SCCC Family
                                                                                               
* Last week was diets in December, this week, we’re in prison where Jeannine and I spent some time yesterday! But what a great day! Gabriela and Nancy have gained such favor with these ladies in the Guaymas prison. We brought along the gifts which many of you generously provided. Thank you. The children of the inmates will be receiving these next Sunday morning.

       One of the highlights was Jesus Adrian Romero and Marcela Gandera (aka Mark & Elsa Mulligan), who led the ladies in some amazing music and worship and the girls joined right in. They are so responsive and there is such a sweet, warm presence in the place, so sweet you just know its Jesus. Gabriela asked me to serve communion and as I was sharing my spiritual journey in preparing to serve them, Beatrice put up her hand. I asked Gabriela what she was wanting. Gabriela looks at me and says, “she wants to accept Jesus as her Savior.” It was just one of those “wow” moments. So we prayed the sinners prayer together as Gabriela translated and Beatrice gave her heart to Jesus.
      Then more worship, which led to Elsa and Mark sharing some of their life stories. Everyone listened intently. And once again the Holy Spirit was at work as what they shared totally connected with one of the ladies who was listening. She isn’t a believer, yet, but because she so related to Mark’s words, we got to pray a prayer of encouragement with her as well. WOW WOW WOW, Lord! What Our Lord does to prepare hearts and to draw people to Himself puts me in awe. If you get a chance to encourage Gabriela and Nancy please do so. They’ve got an amazing ministry in the Guaymas Ladies Prison. It was a really good day!
 
* Several weeks ago, I met with one of our supported missionaries, Heather Hicks who was in SC for a few days. Her work with “Reconciled World” is having such a positive and sustainable impact on small rural churches, firstly in Asia and now, in Africa as well. And as she shared, our discussions moved to another of our Missionary friends, Rob Kehler and the work he has initiated in the mountains / Copper Canyon and Heather asked if there might be something that Reconciled World could offer to the local churches Rob’s teams have connected with. So the dots were connected and Heather was able to do a presentation to 30 folks at Devon & Marisol’s ministry location. Juan Carlos from Art & Brenda’s was also able to join them and together, these four missions discussed how they might support these local rural churches of Sonora. Don’t you love it? Four missionaries working together for God’s Glory! So glad you stopped by Heather! We are praying that God “will do more than we could ever ask or imagine” through this connection.
 
* The Ladies Christmas Luncheon was a great success. Fellowship Hall was decorated wonderfully and full of regulars and guests. Great feedback about Katie’s presentation. And door prizes galore! Their Bible study begins in January, a great opportunity to continue the relationship with the Luncheon guests.
 
* Gotta love those Potlucks – Tiffiny and Team continue to bless us with a special time at these monthly events. This month: Entertainment by Christie; “Name that Tune” was a hit with Pastor winning one of the Christmas Mugs filled with fine chocolate; Christmas Carol Singalong with Shirley Atkinson (what a nice voice) and the room just looked amazing! Thanks Tiffiny. We appreciate all you do to make it great!
 
* Backpacks are being packed this morning at 9am @ the church. If you want to help, I’m sure they’d love it. Thanks to all of you who have so generously provided for this ministry to the children.
 
* Pastor David’s “Fund” Raiser is on Friday – 6:00 PM @ Art & Brenda’s – Contact Grant and Ethel for tickets and please note, its NOT Thursday as per Sunday’s bulletin.
 
* I also received a note from Devon & Marisol Kehler on Sunday regarding a “Food” Raiser , also this Friday, but @ 8:00 PM at the Civic Auditorium in Guaymas. A local Church from Guaymas has organized a musical called “A night in Bethlehem” to benefit the children of Belen Casa de Pan (Devon & Marisol) feeding program in Guaymas. Admission: 1 kg. of oats, rice, beans, sugar, cooking oil, tomato paste, boxed milk, chicken bouillon or any non perishable food items. Everybody is welcome! For more info: contact Devon at 622 136-1249.
 
* You don’t want to miss this coming Sunday as Mayra’s kids share some Christmas tunes with us. And along with them, Ryan has a special surprise for us which he and several others have put together. Its going to be a great morning.
 
* So good to see Matthew and Mark on the worship team last Sunday! Great worship service by the way! Who knows, maybe Luke and John will join the team next Sunday. (I know, bad pun, pastor.) We are so grateful for the participation of new folks on the worship teams this fall with Dennis & Judith; Larry & Maris; Mark Mulligan and Matthew Nolin on Bass. I’m thinking there may be others coming out of the wood work in the days to come, Amen?
 
* Over the years, many of you have been blessed by a Jerry Lebo smile. Jerry is back for the winter and we’re glad he’s joined us again, even though he lost his precious Flo last year. Welcome home, Jerry! Dec 21 would have been their 68th anniversary.
 
* Recent Prayer Highlites: (just a few of many – See Website Prayer Wall)

  1. Carol Beitelspacher got a good report regarding possible cancer
  2. Jim Wilkins back in SC after surgery – “so grateful for your prayers”
  3. Paul Lange – Last report: Cancer free – Praise the Lord!

 
* Sadly though – I also share with you about Tom Folker’s passing. We are so sorry for Joan and the family’s loss. A graveside service was held yesterday in Anaconda, Montana.

* UPCOMING EVENTS:

Today  (9am) – Pack Backpacks @ the Church
Dec 16 (6pm) – Pastor David’s (Spanish Church) Dinner Fundraiser
Dec 16 (8pm) – Musical “A Night in Bethlehem” Food Raiser for Belen Casa de Pan
Dec 18 (9am) – Children’s Church & Worship “Christmas Presentation”
Dec 25 (9am) – Christmas Day Service

Jan 6 or 7?? – 24 Hour Prayer Vigil (Date & Time to Be Confirmed)
Jan 09 (3:30) – Griefshare restarts after Christmas Break
Jan 19 (5:30) – Church Potluck/Fellowship Meal
Jan 30 (8:30 – 4:30) Fusion 2.0 Marriage Conference

Praying you have a great week!
Pastor Glenn y Jeannine

 
I’ve included another Thom Rainer article for your perusal. This has to be one of the most encouraging articles I’ve read in the last few months.

Five Surprising Insights about the Unchurched

They aren’t antagonistic.
They welcome a conversation with believers.
They aren’t staying out of church for the reasons you may think.
They are the unchurched. And because many church leaders and members have such misperceptions about them, churches often fail to reach them, or even attempt to reach them.

In one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on the unchurched, LifeWay Research, in partnership with the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism in Wheaton, surveyed 2,000 unchurched Americans. They defined “unchurched” as someone who has not attended a worship service in the last six months. One-third of the respondents were non-white. Genders were almost equally represented (53% male), and almost half have a high school diploma or less.

I want to unpack this massive research more in the future. For now, let’s look at five surprising insights about the unchurched.

  1. Most unchurched do indeed have some church background. Contrary to some perceptions, the great majority of unchurched have a church background. Almost two-thirds of them (62 percent) went to church regularly as a child.
  2. Most unchurched quit church because they got out of the habit of churchgoing. For certain, a number of them did leave churches for negative reasons, but that is not true of the majority.
  3. One-third of the unchurched have plans to go to church in the future. Please read that statement carefully. One of three unchurched Americans are actually planning to return to church. Is your church actively inviting them?
  4. The unchurched are very open to a gospel conversation. Nearly half (47%) would interact freely in such a conversation. Another third (31%) would listen actively without participating. Pause for a moment. Look at those numbers. Almost eight of ten unchurched Americans would welcome a gospel Another 12% would discuss it with some discomfort, and only 11% would change the subject as soon as possible. We can’t use the poor excuse that the unchurched really aren’t interested in gospel conversations. In reality, church members are more likely not to be interested in initiating gospel conversations.
  5. If you invite them, they will come. About a year ago, I received requests to provide a framework for churches to invite people to church. We called it “Invite Your One.” We are now getting responses from churches that have initiated this ministry, and we are blown away at what God is doing. Among the unchurched, 55% said they would attend church if invited by a family member. And 51% said they would attend church if invited by a friend or neighbor. These numbers are staggering. The opportunities are incredible.

I have been involved in church research and practice for four decades, a testament to both my passion and elderly status. These data confirm my anecdotal observations that there has never been a more opportune time to connect with the lost and unchurched.

It’s truly an incredible opportunity.

I wonder how many churches will seize this God-given moment.

 

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