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MAY / JUN 2013 EDITION

A from Note the editor
Fairview Heights Campus
Sunday - 8:30am, 10:30am, 6:00pm Saturday - 5:00pm

Collinsville / Maryville Campus
Sunday - 10:00am Sunday - 10:00am

“We love, because He first loved us.” - 1 John 4:19
It was at the tender age of 21 that I married the love of my life. I was sure life would be perfect; after all, we were Christians. Little did I know marriage was hard work; there were long military deployments, loneliness, constant moves, and sadness. Many months went by where I was the only parent for our 2 children. I longed for Sunday mornings when I could attend church and be surrounded by adults. My soul hungered for a word from God that I would survive those hard, long years of being a military spouse. It’s been 32 years now and I am sure that only by the grace of God I survived. I am so grateful that I hung in there and made the effort to love when every part of me wanted to escape. It is only by the love of God I can love, be loved and live in His love. In His Name,

Millstadt Campus

Contents

3 - Indecency, Charles Wesley &... 4 - Qualifications for Loving... 5 - Relationships 5 - Just A Phase 6 - Parenting with Purpose 7 - Hanging by a Thread 8 - I’m Adopted, You’re Adopted 9 - Getting To Know You 10 - Healthy Family Relationships 11 - The Basics 12 - Why Home School 13 - Through the Lens of Grace 14 - Sons of Thunder 15 - God At Work

Donna Harrison

Editor - donnaharrison@mychristchurch.com

Senior Pastor: Rev. Shane Bishop Associate Pastor: Rev. Troy Benton Editor: Donna Harrison Proof Reader: Barbara Germany Design: Justin Aymer Design Intern: Michelle Sweeten
For a complete listing of the Christ Curch Staff and to learn more about Christ Church please visit: www.mychristchurch.com

The Flame Online: Get The Flame Magazine online. Free pdf downloads. Email reminders of new editions. Visit www.mychristchurch.com/theflame. Mission Of The Flame: Be inspirational through biblical articles and devotions. Be informative in the announcement of future events that connect people in ministry. Questions about the Flame? Contact Donna Harrison at: donnaharrison@mychristchurch.com
The Flame Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine published by Christ Church. ©2013, Christ Church. All rights reserved.

CHARLES WESLEY AND MY MOM
By Rev. Shane Bishop, Senior Pastor
hen it comes to the church taking risks to be culturally relevant in worship music, my heroes are Charles Wesley and Jan Bishop. In our own Methodist tradition, Charles Wesley (who lived in the enormous shadow of his brother John) was hotly criticized for bringing tavern music into the church as many of his (now considered sacred) hymns used popular English bar hall melodies. It was indecent! Never mind that they allowed nonchurch people to feel welcome in the church because they knew the tunes and never mind the lyrics formed much of their initial theology. Never mind that John’s preaching and Charles’ singing ushered in a great movement of God. Never mind that the Methodist movement transformed both England and USAmerica. Charles Wesley’s musical evangelism methods were simply more than the good Anglicans could stand and that these secular tunes might be played with so vulgar an instrument as a piano only exacerbated the tension. Good Anglican Christians asked, “What is this world coming to?” Charles Wesley answered, “This world is coming to Christ!” In my own family, Jan Bishop (who lives in the enormous shadow of her husband Fred) was quite the radical as well. I remember the first time she led a praise chorus at the Oak Grove Baptist church when I was a kid; I think it was the renegade song, “His Banner over Me is Love.” It was indecent! After all were we not singing a song accompanied by a guitar, the same instrument played by known drug user Jimmy Hendrix? Were we not participating blindly in what were quite possibly hand motions that may have been used in satanic rituals and other secret societies? Could anyone argue that this song was to be found nowhere in the hymnal and thus was not cleared by God for use in church services? This was the stuff of schism but it got worse. I remember that breakwater (like Elvis on the Ed Sullivan

INDECENCY,

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Show kind of breakwater). Sunday in 1972 when my mom’s high school, all-girl singing group JOY (Jesus, Others and You) covered Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water”…in church! Troubled water indeed! Forget that the young people saw a connection between church, culture and everyday life for the first time. Forget that the lyrics had strong Christian implications and illustrated the text perfectly. Forget that our church was filling up with young people. The guardians of tradition were absolutely sure JOY would break into the Rolling Stones “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” the very next week if something was not done and done right now. It appears that just as Charles Wesley was indecently linking theology to bar tunes in 1772 (freaking out the Anglicans), Jan Bishop was linking church and popular music in 1972 (freaking out the Baptists). True movements of God occur historically when the Holy Spirit temporarily breaks loose from legalistic religious traditions and continues until a new set of legalistic religious traditions are constructed. Revival happens in the spaces between the way we have always done it and the way we will soon be doing it. Revival happens in the moments just after we lose control and just before we regain control again. Revival happens in short windows of opportunity when God raises up courageous leaders to move us from what has always been to what soon will be. It takes courage to try new things and experiment with new expressions of worship; all the while holding fast to the unchanging Gospel message of Christ. To step out like that, you need leaders. Thanks Charles Wesley and thanks Mom for risking everything to connect people with Jesus Christ. And Mom… lunch next Sunday is on me.
Rev. Shane Bishop, Senior Pastor facebook.com/revshane @RevShaneBishop

“This world is coming to Christ!”

“What is this world coming to?”

Good Anglican Christians asked,
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Charles Wesley answered,

Qualifications for Loving Neighbor
By Rev. Troy Benton, Associate Pastor

To ensure they would continue to serve one another with both the right spirit and to obtain the right results, Paul writes the words above to the church established in Philippi. It is my belief that among the reasons Paul offers this letter to the gathered community of believers is for them to act out of love rather than duty, obligation, or some selfish gain. Paul also said that our witness as followers of Jesus Christ is told in how we serve people in joy and the gratitude we hold for these same persons being placed in our lives. In my opinion, Paul throws down the gauntlet of grace to those who desire to follow Jesus! Paul suggests that in order to truly be one who has accepted the full heart, hope, and healing of God given in Jesus Christ, one must love those whom they are in a relationship. This is made possible through the means of unselfish, sacrificial, and meaningful service! In the words of another person, to serve is to love, and love is an action word! I’m often asked here at Christ Church, “what should we do in response to God’s love toward us?” Here is my response: love your neighbor! Your neighbor can be anyone needing a hug or a hand in your family and/or church. Your neighbor may be in your city or your world! What is certain through the insight Paul offers those in Philippi through being a servant is one that we can use as strength when we serve others. Loving those whom you have contact with is a gift. Their entrance into your life was made possible and planned by God. However brief or long, our connection with each person is in some way a blessing for both us and them. Our duty is to show our appreciation of God’s plan by accepting who is brought into our lives for God’s purpose. Serving them sacrificially and with a godly attitude and receiving their gifts honor God’s plan and desire. Serving provides us a place of prayer where we humbly ask Jesus to use our witness to glorify His love for everyone in the world! It is my prayer that this is done. Our 100,000 Hours Initiative is centered on the opportunities to love and serve our neighbors. Regardless of how you serve others, our witness matters as we serve in humility and for the glory of God. Why not invest in an opportunity to serve? We would love to have you share with us the way(s) that you are serving others down the hall, around the corner, and/or around the world! Go to our website or the kiosks at church and click on the 100,000 Hour logo and tell your story! Know that as you serve sacrificially you are showing Christ’s likeness in you. Your gratitude as you receive the gift of presence in those that you serve glorifies God. I look forward with overwhelming joy to reading of the ways you are serving as we grow in the grace of “loving neighbor.” I will be praying for you as you serve. God provides these opportunities for us to love our neighbor as acts of praise in response to how He has shown His love toward us. Our love and service qualifies and empowers us to speak of God’s grace to those that desperately need the hope and life found Christ Jesus. Service to my family is one way I live this out. For you, living out the multitude of ways you have at your disposal will be both joy and fuel for your faith.
Rev. Troy Benton, Associate Pastor facebook.com/tmbenton @revtroy

“In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human being, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death---even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” - Philippians 2:5-11, TNIV

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elationships that are worth the investment require service to one another. For me, I see this as both a gift to God, and a requirement of gratitude anyone proclaims beyond the words they express. I have a practice of sharing my service to my family in the mornings. Far from perfect, the mornings are my training ground for growth as I want to increase my love and servitude to those I cherish the most. I want my family to begin with the best beginning possible! Prayer, breakfast set-up, and other things are my outward expressions of my heart for them. At times, serving is not easy; on occasion, the time required to serve them becomes a challenge. There are moments when being together does not make for easy servant hood (i.e., the rush around individual agendas overtake any other effort). When challenging moments arise, I am afforded the reminder of God’s word from the Apostle Paul to the church of Philippi.

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Relationships
hat is it inside us human beings that longs for retreat. We go to beach resorts to sit on the beach, wiggle our toes in the sand, and watch the waves roll in. Families talk of buying land in the middle of Montana and building a family compound away from the ugliness of “civilization.” We long to be left alone, away from the demands of other people. The two most important parts of the workplace are in the mantras of TGIF and VACATION. No matter how hard we try to escape, everything about living and its purposes is about how we engage with others. Jesus said there are only two rules for living: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. . . . [and the second] Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 38) As I see this, the ideal life lived fully, that is exemplified by love, joy, and peace, is a life focused on relationships. There is no escaping to the mountains or the seashore. You can run but you cannot hide. The real joy of living, for me, requires building two essential relationships. When I want to get away from people, I can go to

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By Rev. Bernie Kneale

an isolated spot. But what I do there is work on my relationship with the Almighty. I pray, I study, and I absorb the beauty of God’s handiwork. I praise Him. I give thanks to Him. I worship Him. In return He refreshes me. When I am not alone with God, I must work on the other side of my life: my relationships with my neighbor--strengthening my marriage, being a positive influence in my work place, being a servant to my neighbor, sharing Jesus with those who enter my space. If I am not working on my relationships with my “neighbor,” then I am working on my relationship with God. When life gets too hectic and unbearable, get away and let your relationship with God get you straightened out. Then come back ready to build healthy relationships with your “neighbor.”

Rev. Bernie Kneale Email: bkneale@accessus.net

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Just a Phase
By Emily Climaco
Remember when I used to be crazy about the Bible? That was great. . . . Anyway . . .” Peter—the Rock—promised Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33). I’m no better than Peter or any of the disciples who “turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66). My highest aspirations are faithfulness over time, a long obedience in the same direction, praying without ceasing; in a word: discipleship. But even if my journey with Christ is rife with inconsistency, I know that God is faithful, steady, full of mercy, abundant in love, the same always. All I have to do is return to Him with sincere humility. Some wedges of the pie of life are bitter or surprisingly tough to chew, but our Heavenly Father makes its aftertaste rich and sweet. In every phase of my child’s life, even when she’s demanding, sneaky, or downright disobedient, she could not cause me to love her less. It’s a blessing to catch a glimpse— albeit the smallest sliver—of how our Father loves us. Even when you and I are in a phase of selfishness, anger, or excess, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8). Simply return to Him.
Emily Climaco, Ph.D. facebook.com/emily.lambethclimaco

hil and I received a handout from the parenting class we took at the hospital before Caroline was born. “Pie of Life, or Parenting in Perspective” presents a pie chart representing the years of a parent’s life. Its simple yet wise content I’ve underlined and marked with stars: “This time with your infant is short and represents only a very small portion of your life.” We now live in the tiny sliver of pie representing the years between the baby’s birth and kindergarten, which will soon be past. Lately Caroline’s sentences begin, “When I grow up, can I . . . ?” I love that she’s planning her grown-up life. It also affirms that so much of experience is temporary—just a phase. The expression “just a phase” can be comforting: how glad we are that painful teething was just a phase. Whether I look forward to the next phase is irrelevant: “This too shall pass” applies to the bad and the good alike. A person’s life in Christ is also a series of phases, some easier, some harder, some more memorable than others. We’ve all heard others describe their mountaintop and valley experiences. I hope to never look back on my relationship with Christ with nostalgia for a phase long past. “Remember back in the nineties when I went to church? Yeah.

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Parenting with Purpose
By Matt & Mistie Denny

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arents wear a lot of hats. When the kids are hurt, we play doctor. When they are sad or confused, we play counselor. When they fight, we play the judge, jury, and executioner. (OK, maybe not that last one . . .) The bottom line is: a parent must be prepared to interact with their children in a variety of roles throughout their lives. We do not have the option to say “no.” Normally I [Matt] am not a fan of questions that ask you to rank vital things. You know, questions like “Which organ in the body is most important?” I can think of 7 off-hand that you would die without. They are all important. However, the Bible gives us some guidance when we try to determine which of our parental roles is most vital. It is the role of spiritual teacher. Parents are in charge of the most important classroom their children ever enter: their home. As Christian parents, our highest priority should be to see our children accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and live a life of service to Him. That is not the only goal we have for them (I am very thankful we got our three kids potty trained . . .) but it is the supreme one. Some might ask, “Are parents supposed to be their children’s primary spiritual teachers? Shouldn’t that be someone who works for the church?” This is an honest question, but I think it is most often asked out of fear. Many parents do not feel qualified to teach their kids about the Bible. They honestly feel unable to perform such a critical task. Some might not know the stories. Some may struggle with applying a Biblical passage to their child’s life. And no one can pronounce all the names! We cannot teach our children what we don’t know – right? When we brought our first child home from the hospital, she spent the entire first night crying! We had no idea what was wrong. We couldn’t get her to stop unless I [Mistie] fed her. Matt looked through every parenting book we had to no avail. We eventually learned we had to feed her right before bedtime for her to fall asleep. Every parent has a similar story: “we had no idea that __!” Fill in the blank! We had to learn how to be parents as our children grew. We didn’t get all our “hats” at the hospital; we didn’t even know about most of them! We learned through experience. There is no difference when it comes to spiritual matters. God gives us grace to learn with our children. No matter what age or stage your child is in, you can walk with them as you learn about Jesus together. God has also blessed us with helpful resources – He never

intended us to take this journey alone. The Church is the first place concerned parents should go. There you will find ministry leaders eager to partner with you and equip you to disciple your children. You can connect with other parents who are on the same journey. We lean on each other for support, encouragement, and advice. You will also find teachers and mentors that can come alongside you and provide additional godly voices in your child’s life. Think of the Church as your parental Google search engine! Another issue challenging parents is time. A parent’s schedule is often packed so tight there is no room to add something else. Families try to fit in daily devotions, get discouraged, and ultimately give up – the pressure and time constraints are too hard to overcome. How do parents find time to teach their kids about the Bible? The surprising answer is: You do not have to! Deuteronomy 6:6-9 reads, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” We all eat. We all drive our children around. We all put our kids to bed. God told the Israelites these were prime opportunities to teach their children about Him and His Word. Our goal as parents should be to integrate our faith deeply into the daily rhythms of life. Christians do not literally wear the Law on our heads and hands, but we can paint God’s Word on our doorposts by living it out fearlessly in our homes. We can take advantage of natural, daily opportunities God gives us rather than stress over creating isolated times and places where we talk about God’s stuff. Living out this verse means including God in everything we do, making Him a natural part of our daily conversations and routines. The Bible instructs parents to teach our children “about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders….so each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying His commands.” (Psalms 78: 4, 7) We have both the commission and equipping from God. Our duty, and our joy, is laid before us. We can do it!
Matt & Mistie Denny facebook.com/mattmistie.denny

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Hanging by a Thread
By Neil D. Horowitz, Ph.D hen I talk about family, I like to use the image of a mobile, hanging from the ceiling. Imagine your immediate family (spouse, children…and pets), family of origin (parents, grandparents, siblings), and your extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins), all represented by figures (think of those stickers on the back of minivans) hanging from strings at various levels of the mobile. Keeping this mobile in balance takes constant attention, and often seems impossible. A change on any level has a consequence for the balance of the entire system of levels. Add or remove a figure on any level, through marriage, birth or adoption, death or divorce, or whatever, and everybody on all levels will have to adjust. I am surprised at the number of people who believe that what happens in their family is their business and shouldn’t create disequilibrium for anybody else. Or that something that happens elsewhere in the family system does not have consequences for their family. That simply is not the way it is. Even though the consequences may take a while to penetrate the various levels of the family system, there will be consequences.

and sisters.” As believers, we accept we are also Jesus’ brothers and sisters. By extension, by faith, we are members of a worldwide family. Our family is everywhere. Our family mobile is as complex as the relationships between individuals, families, neighborhoods, states, countries, sociopolitical groups, and ethnicities. In Galatians, Chapter 6, Paul reminds us, “As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” There is that word again, family. Notice that Paul did not say, “Only to those,” he said “To all people, especially to those.” “All” is pretty clear. Also notice Paul said “as we have the opportunity.” I like this. To me, that phrase means that as we go about our day, situations will come up where we are presented with opportunities to do good. It means I don’t have to go out of my way to find these situations, but I do have to be sensitive to them and honest about my ability to rise to the occasion. In the same way we communicate love, caring, and safety to those we recognize as our family, we are to do the same to those who we have never acknowledged as family, but are family nonetheless. Do your words and actions communicate physical, emotional, and verbal safety? Or do they communicate indifference, threat, and verbal violence? What do your words and actions say about your willingness to make sure that others’ needs are met; that others know they are loved by a loving God and by those saved by Him? Do your words communicate openness and safety to people who are not like you, who may not believe as you do, who may not live as you do? It isn’t as hard as you might think. When asked about the most important commandments, Matthew 22:37-40 records, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” I like to believe God’s Family Mobile hangs on them, as well.

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Who is your family?

We are a huge family. In Hebrews 2:10-12, we are told that “The ONE who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. JESUS is not ashamed to call them brothers

Neil D. Horowitz, Ph.D. www.ndhphd.com

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I’m Adopted, You’re Adopted
By Lindsay Tallman

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t started with a simple prayer. In the fall of 2011, God prompted me to begin praying for Him to break my heart for what breaks His. In December, God moved unexpectedly in our average American suburban life. He put a picture of a 3-year-old orphan from China on our hearts and minds. Besides the fact that she was adorable, there was only one thing that connected us with her. She bore the same name of the daughter we felt was missing from our family. Did God really intend for us to raise 4 children (our hands seemed pretty full with 3)? For 3 months, we prayed, gathered information and waited for an answer. On January 17, 2012, I drove up to our home and saw 6 mourning doves lined up on our front porch. They seemed so at home nestled there. Every day the same 6 birds waited for me. I mentioned the birds to my husband and told him that I felt it was yet another prompting from God about making our family a tribe of 6. His response was that it was a sign alright, a sign that our porch was about to be a real mess. By March, we could no longer ignore the call to go get this little girl. His still, small voice had spoken to us in too many ways. Proverbs 24:12 says, “Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows we know and holds us responsible to act.” We had no idea what we were doing, but God’s instructions were clear that we were to take this journey of faith one day at a time. I’d like to say the journey was easy, but it wasn’t. The Bible never promises any faith journey will be easy. There were many days when our fears and doubts attempted to get the best of us. Through months of waiting and wondering, I clung to the word. Psalm 68:5 says, “A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in His holy dwelling.” I trusted God to hold our

daughter in His loving arms until He placed her in ours. Finally, on January 17, 2013, we arrived home from China with the newest member of our family. Our new daughter Delaney brings joy and light wherever she goes! She is such a sweet gift. I’m humbled that God chose us to be her family. But my husband was right (and he probably just blacked out from hearing me say that); life with 4 kids can be a real mess sometimes. Like all families, whether created through birth or adoption, our kids are a diverse mix of varying emotional, physical and spiritual needs. Some days it feels like we’re only running triage in a unit that is horribly understaffed. Then there are other moments, when the sound of all of their laughter rings out from across the room or I see their smiles as they huddle together in our own little nest and I feel like I’ve just inherited a glimpse of heaven. A few nights ago, Delaney was having a hard day. Exhausted and emotionally spent, she needed someone to pour love into her. My husband swaddled her in a blanket and rocked her in a chair upstairs, away from all the chaos. As I glanced in and saw her peaceful face, I was reminded that we too have a Heavenly Father who is always available to give us shelter from the storms of life. When the chaos of the day threatens to swallow us or we think we are in over our heads and have nothing left to give, we can run to His arms and He will fill us with love and grace again. I’m adopted, you’re adopted. I’m so thankful that, “His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us.” Ephesians 1:5
Lindsay Tallman www.lindsayntallman.com

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Getting To Know YOU
Name: Larry Weber Job Title: Director Of Ministries Job Description: Larry and his highly capable staff have
responsibility for children, youth and adult discipleship. Larry is also the person responsible for establishing satellite campuses and working with the satellite campus leadership.

If you could be anywhere in the world?

I would be here! I would wish to have my children and grandchildren here as well; I love where we live, where we worship and the friends we have in this area.

hazard and I am not particularly social so I do not like the city.

Are you a morning or night person?

If you knew you could try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt?

I am a morning person. When our children were little, Nancy would care for them at night and I would be the one who got up with them early.

I would love to play first base for the St. Louis Cardinals! Or play college basketball.

What advice to a newlywed couple would you give?
Put God first, your spouse second and your children third.

Describe the perfect date night.

Nancy, my wife of 42 years, and I would hop into a very large motor home and travel to each of our children’s homes to spend 4 days at each location with our children and grandchildren.

What drives you every day?

How did you meet your spouse?

Nancy and I met in high school; she was a cheerleader and I was an athlete. I also helped my dad with a cattle feedlot that required a lot of corn, purchased from her dad’s grain elevator. Nancy and I became best friends. We dated for 3 years, were engaged for one year and have been married over 42 years-high school sweethearts.

A calling--every time I think it is time to plan for my second retirement, I am reminded that God called me and He must release me. Since the early 90s I have believed I was called to work with children and now at church doing similar oversight for Creation Corner, Kid Connection and Student Ministry. The years I have spent as a school administrator at every level prepared me to be strategic in my work so Satellite Campuses have become a part of that calling.

Who plays the most influential role in your life?

What school subjects were you best at and what subjects did you struggle with?

God and Nancy. I pray constantly for wisdom and discernment. Often that comes in the form of words from the person closest to me: Nancy.

I was always an excellent math and science student; often tutoring my classmates in high school and college. I struggled with music (elementary education major requirement) but love to sing. Don would tell you, “Larry can’t carry a tune to save his life.” But I still love to make a joyful noise.

Would you like to be President?

Not smart enough-I definitely have some ideas about what the current President and Congress should and should not be doing. I’m not sure I could manage to lead in such a complicated time as this.

Do you have a nickname?

Are you a Facebook person?

In elementary school I was often called Oliver Owl because of my large, thick glasses.

Are you a beach, country or city person?

I am a country person. I burn easily so the beach is a health

Yes, I check Facebook daily and post occasionally. I joined Facebook because I thought my kids were on it and I found out that they are not. Now I’m hooked on the minutiae of life in social media. And I have been able to connect with some people that I respected from long ago. 9

Healthy Family Relationships

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By Debby Creagh

amily relationships can be complicated! Only we can set the course to making them healthy. Healthy families nurture healthy individuals that are capable of handling the stresses in their world and making good decisions. Two major keys are taking the time needed and being intentional about our relationships. Here are 10 tips from an article by family therapists and professors. 1. Take care of yourself. This means in mind, body, soul and spirit. We’re better able to care for others when we are healthy ourselves. Set short, reachable goals to do whatever nurtures you. Whether it is exercise, weight loss, time alone, a hot shower, or reading a good book, take the time to care for yourself. 2. Be mindful about the relationships in your life. Take time to reflect on and pray for the relationships in your life. Pause, breathe, be grateful, accept, be forgiving… all these things allow us to keep our perspective and remind us to nurture our relationships. 3. Spend five hours a week with your partner. Of course more is always better! If necessary, schedule time in your week (we are all busy!) to make each other a priority. Paying bills and cleaning don’t count! It can be split up into segments over the week, but research is proving this is necessary to a healthy relationship. Take a hike, ride a bike, see a movie, go to dinner, do something you enjoy together. 4. Couples should nurture fondness and admiration in their relationships. This is an essential core to a successful relationship. We are easily distracted with flaws and annoying habits. Take your mind off the negative and remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities. Showing love and respect to each other builds the relationship. 5. It’s okay to think of “family dinner” as a very casual affair. It can mean anything from one parent is present during an evening meal to the whole family is gathered together. Take the pressure off and focus more on being together. A recent study correlated having “family dinners” to decreased substance abuse and delinquency. 6. Worry less about your teen feeling “overscheduled.” Encourage organized activities: these build a sense of competence, allow teens to interact with peers, and they see positive adult role models. The media focused or “hanging out” time is decreased and kids have a chance to be more active. Music, art, school newspaper, scouting, biking or hiking clubs, drama, as well as sports, are just a few of the options. Choose what fits for your child’s interests.

7. Make sure your teen is getting enough time with you, especially dads. Parents’ influence with their teens is critical as they begin making decisions for themselves. A study showed that 40% of teens wanted more time with their dads and 30% wanted more time with their moms, as compared to kids ages 8-12. 8. Parents should share their values with their children and tell them why they believe strongly about them. Studies have found that children are more likely to adopt their parents’ beliefs when they understand why. Discussions help children understand their parents’ perspective and identify their own values. 9. Sexuality education with children should start early and take advantage of teachable moments. Shorter relaxed opportunities such as bath time, potty training, television or movies, and current events that are appropriate for the age group help the child understand sexuality at his/her level. Research shows that it encourages responsible sexual behavior rather than promiscuity. It also opens the door for communication and questions as they occur. Waiting to have the “big talk” with a teen from a parent, and all the inherent pressure to get it right, occurs after the child has received information and opinions correct or not - from his peers. 10. You are never too old to be playful in your relationships. A child’s primary form of learning, expression and communication is play. In adults, it has been shown to be an effective form of stress relief and bonding. Try increasing the amount of “play time” with your spouse or children by just 15 minutes a day. Make sure the activity is fun for all; no sarcasm allowed. This information was adapted from an article in the “Journal Advocate” by the professors and therapists in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University . (www.journal-advocate.com) Start with one or two activities on the list above in the areas you think need the most attention for your family and try those. Don’t give up if at first you don’t get the right combination. Try something else. Be persistent. You might ask your family to write down a bunch of suggestions of what they would like to do for spending time together, and start with those. You might be surprised at what you learn about your kids! The health of our family relationships reflects healthy lives in Christ. Let’s encourage each other to take the next healthy step in our family relationships.

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Debby Creagh, Parish Nurse debbycreagh@mychristchurch.com

The Basics
By Rachel Frazure

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t’s a momentous year. My first born turns 10 years old and I turn 40. Time has definitely flown by. I remember when I was pregnant with Juliana, I thoroughly prepared for her birth. I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with it, but I did do the necessary planning. I read books, went to parenting classes, kept up with a website on parenting and even watched “A Baby Story” on TLC. Yes, I was going to be the mother of the year. I will say that upon her arrival, I felt more prepared than I did 9 months earlier. I am still waiting to hear back about my Mother of the Year award. Ten years and two beautiful daughters later, I can honestly say my eyes are open. I think many would admit when your children are very young, you think about the basics – feeding, potty training, talking, walking – and the list goes on. Now that my children are 6 and 10, I have had the startling revelation that the basics need to be redefined. With these ages comes an up-close look at today’s culture. My kids like Nickelodeon and Disney XD, like many other kids their ages. They are dealing with pressure from other kids and the media to act and talk a certain way. We are even dealing with my girls occasionally having smart mouths, which I know is so hard to believe. Yes, my children go to church, say their little dinner prayers and sometimes say their nighttime prayers. I know Sunday School is teaching them a lot, and I am so thankful for our church. However, it’s been overwhelming dealing with the deeper issues of childhood at home. I have been rather discouraged at times. I definitely haven’t felt like Mother of the Year. I remember one morning I woke up feeling down. I decided at that moment to just pray. I said

something like, “God, I don’t know what to say or do, but I am here.” At that moment, these words came to me, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” With me, I have to confess that scripture memorization isn’t a priority. I have been focused lately on studying the Word more and opening my heart more to prayer. I was in awe that God brought this scripture to me (Psalm 19:14) – a scripture I probably really took to heart years ago, when I was a very young Christian. That same day, Juliana was fretting over a test at school and said, “I can’t do it”. You know what God did? He laid on my heart Philippians 4:13, another important verse from my younger days. I was able at that moment to encourage and say to her that she can do all things through Christ who gives her strength. I am not saying things were perfect from then on, but I did realize that I and my family cannot go a day without the basics, and that we must take steps to make it a priority. What are the basics? The basics can be summed up in a song by 4HIM, a music group that was popular when I was in college. A Facebook friend of mine recently reminded me of this classic song, which really makes me feel old! I pray these words will encourage you to make Jesus a daily part of your home life. Invite Him in and if necessary, redefine the basics in your home. “We need to get back to the basics of life A heart that is pure and a love that is blind A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ The hope that endures for all times These are the basics, we need to get back to the basics of life.”

Rachel Frazure facebook.com/rfrazure

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Why Home School?
By Shannon Peiffer

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he life of a homeschooling mother is anything but glamorous, but it allows me to spend my time with the stars of my life; Jesus Christ and my children. Schooling at home is not without its challenges, but the benefits greatly surpass the struggles. I find overcoming the obstacles requires a deeper walk with God; therefore daily spiritual routines must be established. “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) Our best days always commence with Bible reading, prayer, and praise. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6) Homeschooling was not my initial plan. At first my children were in the public school system. It was not easy to convert to schooling at home. I wasn’t certain of my capabilities as an educator, but my desire to start them out on a Godly foundation soon outweighed my fears of inadequacy. I found time spent with teachers outnumbered those that were spent at home. If there was going to be an imbalance, I felt it should weigh in my favor. After much research and inquiry, I was prompted to move my children’s education from publicity into the serenity of our home. At home I could adequately monitor the kind of media my children were subjected to, whereas the school system does not always allow. A child is impressionable as clay ready to mold. “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) I was finding it hard to overpower the negative influences they would encounter. The need to fit in became stronger than their desire to submit to their parents. Never underestimate the power their friends have in their lives. “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Homeschooling allows me to eliminate much of the competition for the precious commodity of my children’s hearts and minds. One other thing I was beginning to see, even in the second grade, my oldest son was being subjected to bullying. Somehow he believed these kids to be his friends. We have all been

made aware of the negative effects of bullying. This was not something I wanted to see him endure. I wasn’t trying to protect him from the harshness of life, as much as to tutor him how to weather the storm. “I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” (Psalm 55:8) Outside our residence, a parent has no control of what is being taught concerning right and wrong, an area that has become all too grey in recent years, but at home I can exercise this freedom religiously. Home education was a choice we made voluntarily, but alone with your children every day of the week can be rather isolating. Frustration and anxiety seem to follow me like a shadow. If it wasn’t for co-ops and activities shining light into my world, I could be eclipsed by loneliness. These things allow me to escape the confines of four walls and open my children to ideas that they could not experience otherwise, safely in a Christian realm. Not everyone can understand what’s so hard about being at home. Without the intervention of needed escapes and outside conversation, it can feel a bit desolate, even with the bright smiles of your children as recompense. There simply is nothing comparable to human companionship. Though I believe being at home with your children is a great gift, the rewards often feel years in coming. A bit of encouragement from an outside source is a coveted, rare product of our environment. I am no perfect parent or the most prepared teacher, but I have faith the Lord will fill in the gaps, as long as I seek Him. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) My children most likely will not become stars in Hollywood, but they will be duly prepared to experience the glamour of Heaven. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) If this is the only thing I see accomplished in their lives, I would consider it a great success.

Shannon Peiffer facebook.com/shannon.peiffer.5

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Through the Lens of

GRACE
By Mary Ann Turner

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ooking in the mirror I see that it’s true. I am an older woman. I’m not young and not as old as I am yet to be. I’m an in-betweener.

glue when it comes to doing life together. We live with willingness to invest in the life of another person as Christ has invested in us. We encourage each other to love family and to put Christ at the center of our lives. When He is at the center, all priorities will find their rightful place as a circular ebb and flow rather than as a bulleted list. We live with discretion and purity. Living a pure life does not save us. It is because we are saved by grace that we learn to live differently--with the beauty that comes from within. It will show on the outside, too. We live with kindness because of God’s kindness towards us. We live to create a home--not a house--but a home. It’s the place where we celebrate birthdays, welcome friends, and give good night kisses. It’s where we settle arguments and where doovers are welcome. And home is where the gifts of respect and love make a healthy marriage. We live this way because He has given us grace upon grace. God is the One who is good and He gives us the grace to live in community. God wouldn’t have given us the wise words in Titus 2 if He didn’t plan to provide a way for us to learn how to live wisely. Grace is the provision. We can do life together, looking through the lens of His grace. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14 Teach the older women to be reverent in the way that they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5

My younger friends come close to listen for wisdom. They giggle at the size of the font on my text messages. They make my life richer because I learn from them too. I can speak promise and hope to them. I can point them to Jesus. My older friends inspire me. I promise myself that I will be as regal and as sharp as they are when I am their age. I like having them near. Friends my age understand why I stand in the pantry for what seems like minutes, not seconds, only to come out with nothing in my hand. Oh yes, I was looking for the crackers. Or was it the cheese? No, that would be in the refrigerator. We have true camaraderie, especially when we actually remember to call each other like we said we would. The best of life is lived in community with multiple generations doing life together. How then shall we live? We work backwards. Titus 2 is a wise guide but if we don’t read the whole chapter we will feel like a failure before we even begin. Work backwards and read Titus 2:11-14 first. We are saved by God’s grace. He is the one that teaches us by His grace to live a holy life until He returns. He is the one that gave His life to redeem us from sin. He is the one that purifies us to be a people that are His very own. We are His! Oh how He loves us! The unending love of Christ gives us strength and desire by His grace to do life together. Knowing this and believing it in our hearts we can now work backwards to the first verses in Titus 2:3-5 and read it through the lens of grace rather than the lens of defeat. (See all of Titus 2 for the big picture.) How then shall the generations learn how to do life together? We live our lives with the commitment to avoid speaking or listening to gossip. We offer the grace of Christ to others when we are careful with our speech. We also develop trust. Trust is

Mary Ann Turner maryann.turner2011@gmail.com

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Sons of Thunder:
By Wayne Witter & Jeff Allen

Outreach on Two Wheels

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he anticipation and excitement is nearly overwhelming as we enter into our second year of motorcycle ministry at Christ Church. The ministry is known as Sons of Thunder. We are men and women with a love for motorcycles but most importantly a love for Jesus and a love for people. The Sons of Thunder have the same mission as Christ Church: to connect people with Jesus Christ. We do this by reaching out, inviting, providing fellowship, and discipleship. Some of our key events last year included a few prayer rides. A large group of motorcyclists rode from Christ Church Fairview Heights to Millstadt, then to Maryville to hold prayer at each campus for the leaders that God has put in place there. We also prayed one-by-one for the leaders of Christ Church by riding to their homes. The rumble of our motorcycles pulling into the neighborhoods only for us to stop and hold a silent prayer had to be a site! This year looks to be an even bigger and better season for the ministry of SOT. Sons of Thunder is beginning to have a presence in the biker community of the metro east, with our patches shining ever brightly among other motorcycle clubs. We have been welcomed into the community and invited to hold a bike blessing at a tavern in Cahokia. On May 4th we will be praying for the safety of fellow motorcycle riders for the coming riding season. We will also have a unique opportunity to meet our friends right where they are and offer them Jesus.

I’m excited to let you know that whether or not you ride a motorcycle you can be a part of our ministry and the exciting things to come. We need “Friends of Thunder.” These are people who do not ride but are willing to bring their vehicles along to haul equipment and other necessary objects that we simply cannot take with us on our motorcycles. Then as a part of Friends of Thunder you will be asked to participate at the event just as any other member. Men and women are both welcome. We call ourselves the Sons of Thunder, but we have chosen to believe Paul in Galatians 3.26-29 “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus..... there is neither male or female.” For more information contact Wayne at thunderforthecross@aol. com. Also visit sotchristchurch.com and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/sotchristchurch

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God At Work
New Members
March
Judy Skaff Thomas Skaff

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Baptisms
March
Daniel Rygelski Parker Cardin

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Member Passings
-------------------------------Marie Antoinette Arcynski – Feb 12 Christine Elizabeth Fiedler – Feb 25 Terrance C. Jennings – Feb 27 Charles Lewis Michels – Mar 2

100,000 Hours

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The people of Christ Church have committed to serve our community with 100,000 hours of service.

We have served: 28,201.5 hrs
(as of 04/04/13)

Log your hours at mychristchurch.com/100k

Attendance

-------------------------------Mar. Worship avg. = 1840 Mar. Connection Classes avg. = 416 Year Avg. Worship = 1795

Finances (as of 04/04/13)

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Tithes & Offerings = $691,517.58 Expenses & Mortgage Payment - $649,041.96 Remaining Debt - $5,000,771.45

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Vacation Bible School
FH Campus • July 15 - 19 // CM Campus • July 24 - 26 // Millstadt Campus • july 22 - 23

Ages 3yrs - Rising 6th Grader

Creation and the flood
(Genesis 1;3:1-24; 6:5-8)

Every kid loves a good story, whether it’s a book, a movie, or a video game. Bring your kids and their friends and let them get excited about the most incredible true story of all - God’s loving pursuit of us through time! The Turn It Up Summer VBS takes kids on a journey through the Bible, giving them context for God’s Big Story. Help your kids discover how they can be a part of the story when they turn up the power of God’s love in their life!

God’s Promise to abraham
(Exodus 6:2-8; 16:2-3; 17:3; Numbers 14:2-4; 1 Samuel 8:1-22)

(Genesis 12:1-7; 15:1-6; 13 -14; 22:1-15)

The israelites grumble
(The Gospels)

jesus birth, life and death

Easter / The road to Emmaus

(Luke 24:13-35)

(Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:4-11)

The mission