I hardly recognize the world we live in anymore. It’s changed so much. A lot of it for the worse. There was a time when schools were safe places for children. Churches too. Newspapers were full of news. And politics, although always a cesspool, has never been a deeper, darker cesspool than it is now. Has technology made life better, or just more sinful?
This all came to a head this morning when I heard that they are thinking about changing the sacred game again. (I don’t use that word lightly.) They are considering allowing any three batters, any three, even if they batted in the eighth inning, to lead off the ninth, if their team is losing. This follows all of the other stupid changes that have been made to the sacred game over the years. Designated hitter. Inter-league play. The non-pitch intentional walk. To name just some of the carnage.
My analogy may seem trite, in comparison to killings in schools and churches. But I think not. Baseball is an American game; and I see it as a barometer for what has been going on in this country, at least since little Timmy could walk to school by himself, and then enjoy, (or not) a six hour school day that was both safe and peaceful. And then, walk home by himself.
So little of what we know today is what it was then. Change comes about, often, for no good reason. Or for purely HUMAN reasons. Like profit. (True of baseball.) And pleasure. I suspect that many a shooter, before he undertook his rampage, either on a church or on a school, derived a lot of pleasure from video games like World of Warcraft and Mortal Combat. An awful lot of profit has resulted from the sale of those games, and from the sale of tickets to movies that glorify gun violence. We live what we see. Especially children. But much of what we see IS NOT the way that we should live.
This is why we need Lent. Lots of it. Not just for the 40 days that precede Easter. All year round. Because Lent reminds us of our NEED to change. It reminds us, as well, of how change should be GODLY. Much of life in America involves no God. This is tragic, because the more that we know God, the better off we are.
Here are some Lenten opportunities that are meant to help us know God and His ways better. And in those discoveries, we just might be led to Godly change, in our lives and in the life of this church.
There are 5 Sundays remaining in Lent. Bible study takes place every Sunday beginning at 9.30 AM. Worship, as usual, begins at 11.00 AM. Palm Sunday is March 25th. Maundy Thursday is March 29th. Worship that night begins at 6 PM. Good Friday is March 30th. A brief Good Friday service will begin at 12 Noon. On Sunday, April 1st we will celebrate the Resurrection!
Additionally, the Wednesday evening potluck during Lent will include a devotional based on the Passion of our Lord and Savior According to Mark. Potluck at 5.30, devotional at 6.15.
Have a Holy Lent. And a Happy Easter!
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS, MARCH 11
Don’t forget that Sunday, March 11, is the start of Daylight Savings. So, be sure to set your clocks AHEAD one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. We want to see you at the right time!
GIRL SCOUT SUNDAY, MARCH 11
On Sunday, March 11, we will celebrate Girl Scout Sunday during the morning worship service. Girl Scout Sunday is designated as the day to commemorate the founding of the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912 and to recognize the contributions Scouts make to their churches and their communities. All local scouts, both girls and boys, are welcome to attend, and are encouraged to wear their uniforms. Cake will be served in the Fellowship Hall following the service.
YOUTH BIBLE STUDY @ GREEN HILL
What’s Going On At Green Hill Monday Afternoons?
If you’ve ever stopped by church on Monday afternoons and were surprised to see a lot of cars and kids, you might wonder what’s going on…..
From around 2010, Green Hill has been having Inductive Bible Studies for kids after school. It started with a class on Mondays of a few kids that wanted to go deeper in learning about what was in their Bible. They wanted to study Revelation.
The Inductive Bible study method is great for kids because it makes them really think when they read the text and mark key words. We call this step the Observation step. In this step, after we have read the passage and marked the text, we ask the Who/What/When/Where/Why and How questions (5 W’s and an H) and make lists, timelines, draw pictures of what was described, and find clues to the context of the passage. The purpose of the Observation step is to answer the question, “What does it say?” The next step is the Interpretation step. In this step, we look for things to help us figure out, “What does it mean?” Since Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture, we check there first. We look up cross-references to the passage or we look up cross-references to better understand the meaning of the key words that we’ve been marking. Our Discover4Yourself Study books give us great information on cultural, geographical and historical context to complete the picture. All of this work helps us to know for ourselves what God’s word says and what it means. When we know what God’s word says and means, it’s time to apply it to our lives – this step is called the Application step.
That one class has grown to four classes – three classes on Mondays and one on Tuesdays. Monday is our biggest day with a total of 16 kids ranging in age from a 1st grader to an 8th grader in 8 families and 7-8 adults helping in various capacities. So there you have it: Inductive Bible Study is going on at Green Hill on Mondays from 3-5pm.
There is a new kind of Bible Study for kids on Tuesdays after-school.
The Tuesday kids’ after-school Bible Study class that was studying John 17-21 finished on January 30th. This was the third year that they had studied the gospel of John together. The kids were at the level that they could do Bible study on their own, so when they asked if they could do another study before the school year was out, we decided to do something different. Instead of doing everything together in class, they will come to class having done a week’s worth of lessons at home.
The study we are doing is Lord, Teach Me To Pray For Kids. They will have a lesson to do seven days a week for the next four weeks. Each participant will also have a prayer partner to encourage them on the journey. It is a fantastic study and I am so excited to learn alongside them and to see what God will teach us. Our meetings together will start with fellowship and snacks, followed by review of the work, sharing specific action they took to apply what they learned that week, and answering any questions they had about what was covered.
Kelly North and Jennifer Kelley will be helping in this great adventure as leaders for the girls’ and boys’ discussion groups respectively.
Please pray for us and know that all are welcome to join us for the group’s graduation ceremony at 4:30p.m. Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
PRESBYTERIAN HOME FOR CHILDREN
Celebrating 150 Years of Discipleship!
My name is Linda Madsen and I am a member of First Presbyterian Church of Andalusia, Alabama. Late last summer, I had the honor of being asked to join the Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega, Alabama beginning in 2018. On Monday, February 5, I drove to Talladega to attend the orientation session for new trustees. As part of our orientation, we had a tour of the campus of the Presbyterian Home for Children and the Ascension Leadership Academy, which is located at First Presbyterian Church of Talladega.
That evening, I also had the privilege of attending the installation service of Doug Marshall, the new President and CEO of the Presbyterian Home for Children (PHfC). The very meaningful and joyful installation service took place at First Presbyterian Church of Talladega.
I spent that night in Talladega and attended my first PHfC Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, February 6. At that meeting I met a lot of good women and men, from all walks of life, from all over the great state of Alabama. We all came together that day with the unified goal of serving Christ by serving others in need.
This is a very special year for the Presbyterian Home for Children because it will be celebrating its 150th anniversary! That’s right. In 1868, the home first opened its doors to orphaned children in Alabama after the United States Civil War, at its original location in Tuskegee, Alabama.
In 1892, as times changed and the need for the orphanage expanded, the home moved to its current, more central location in Talladega, Alabama. PHfC has continued to adapt and expand its services to the changing needs of homeless children in Alabama throughout the last century.
Since 1983, PHfC has operated as an agency within the physical boundaries of the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley and has its connection with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. through the three presbyteries within Alabama, including South Alabama Presbytery and North Alabama Presbytery.
Skip to 2018. I am currently the Presbyterian Home for Children Trustee that lives the closet to your church. As this year progresses, I will continue to tell you in more detail about the exciting and wonderful ways the Presbyterian Home for Children is currently serving the homeless, including children and their female caregivers, at-risk teens, young adults, the disabled, and struggling families not just in Talladega, but in other locations around Alabama. I will also tell you about the different ways you may get involved in supporting the mission of the PHfC.
If you would like to visit the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega, the home is offering some free group tours. On Tuesday, March 20, a tour bus will leave from Dothan. It will drive you to the home, provide you with lunch and a tour, and return you to Dothan later that same day. There will also be other group tours leaving from Tuscaloosa on Tuesday, February 20 and Spanish Fort on Tuesday, March 13. To reserve a space or find out more about the group tours, you may contact Jacque Cordle at (256) 362-2114 X 1204.
To learn even more about the Presbyterian Home for Children, visit the website at http://www.phfc.org.
Thank you for your continued support of the Presbyterian Home for Children.
Board of Trustees
Presbyterian Home for Children
RECOGNITION OF OUR VETERANS
Each year in December, the national Wreaths Across America program places wreaths on the graves of Veterans all over the United States in honor and remembrance of their service to our country.
Here in the Wiregrass, the program is expanding to cover not only the major cemeteries, but many of the smaller ones as well. The American Legion and Civitan Club are trying to compile a master list of all Veterans buried in the area to make sure that every local Veteran is recognized in future ceremonies.
If you have a Veteran in your family who is buried locally, or if you know of a Veteran who is buried locally, please see Sandi in the church office. She has a clipboard for recording the names.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL: June 25 to June 29
The Bible is filled with examples of God’s people shouting and cheering in response to His might acts of power. This summer we will invite our local children to do the same by remembering who God is, what He has done, and what He promises to do!
As a bit of a change this year, we are going to include our older children, our teens and tweens, in some leadership roles. VBS is not only for teaching young children about the Bible, it is also an opportunity for us to help mold the Christian leaders of tomorrow.
We have about four months to make this plan come together. Please begin praying now. God is going to use us to do amazing things at Green Hill this summer. If you feel called to serve in VBS this year, please contact Scott Smith.
CHURCH WORK DAY
It’s that time of year again: time to clean up the church grounds for Spring. Please join us on Saturday, March 24, at 8am. Bring your favorite yard tool. Coffee will be hot and ready. We’ll try to get everything done by Noon. If the weather is bad on the 24th, our backup work day is the 31st.