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God is good. God is good always, and with that FBCW kicked off its Upward Soccer Ministry after a one year break. This year our ministry served over 123 boys and girls from kindergarten through 8th grade. We had six divisions: Shining Starts, Kindergarten, first grade, second and third grade, fourth and fifth grade and sixth grade through eighth grade. Our Upward ministry is one of the only in the area to offer teams for seventh and eighth graders. The season consisted of three weeks of practice followed by eight weeks of games, played on Saturday mornings from August 26 through October 14. All games and practices were held at LINC, located at 9 Love Park Lane in Wentzville. Special thanks to LINC for allowing us to use their fields.

Upward’s motto is to, “Play With Purpose.” Our ministry’s purpose is to share the grace and love of Jesus Christ through the game of soccer. There can be no greater purpose. The soccer training program is modeled after the training program approved by the US Soccer Association. A typical training session is based on a specific skill set with games and activities geared to introduce the player to the concept. Players are then given as many opportunities as possible to practice that new skill individually, in pairs and in game-like situations. At the midpoint of each practice, coaches lead a five to ten-minute devotion, which introduces a trait the Bible teaches us to follow. The goal during devotions is a conversation. Sometimes this is the first time a child is hearing the word. Coaches are key in modeling a Christ-like manner and attitude. It is true discipleship. We were blessed this season to have many Christ-like coaches.

Some will say: “Dude, its just soccer.” “Its just a bunch of moms and dads running around on a field with a ball.” “Do they even score in soccer?”. It really is much more than that. Through soccer, we get the opportunity to introduce the word of God to kids and show how His word can make a difference in their play, and more importantly their lives. But we are not just reaching kids. We get a chance to introduce the Word to their parents, guardians, grandparents, extended family and friends. This opportunity is overt during half-time devotions on game days, but also through the work of the volunteers making the ministry possible.

I’m thankful God gave me the opportunity to be a part of this ministry. I’m even more grateful for the men and women he led to help make this ministry happen. I can’t wait for next year!

Posted by Burt Benesek with
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Many times in our lives we will experience situations that cause us to say “Why, God”?? 

It might be the loss of a loved one, death of a child, a terrorist attack, a frightening diagnosis; and all we can see is the negative.  To us, it might look cruel, or meaningless, or totally unreasonable. Yes, I have had such experiences and have questioned God. I remember feeling very isolated, not believing anyone else could understand.  My Mother must have known I would someday face these situations; at a young age, she insisted I memorize:

Romans 8:28  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalms 91:1-2  “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust”.

Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.

 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths”.

When I became a Christian and started reading the Bible, the story of Joseph had an impact on me.  Joseph's own brothers considered killing him, but instead sold him into slavery.  He ended up in Egypt, and spent a considerable amount of time in prison.  It tells us in: 

Acts_7:9  “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him”,

But then when a time came that Joseph was able to confront his brothers, this is what he said to them:

Genesis 50:20-21  But as for you, you meant evil against me; But God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people. Now therefore fear not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spoke kindly to them”.

I'm writing this shortly after two incidents happened in our country.  A group of Congressmen were practicing baseball on a field in Virginia, when a gunman walked into the park and started firing an assault rifle.  Steve Scalise, the “majority whip” in the House, was on second base and was hit in the leg and hip.  He went down and was unable to run.  By the time police had subdued the shooter, Steve had lost a lot of blood.  One of his colleagues put a tourniquet on his leg and they rushed him to the hospital.  The doctors were not optimistic, but Steve survived, and returned to Congress.  He testified publicly how he had prayed while laying on that baseball field; how other people had prayed, and that he knew it was a miracle and an answer to prayer that he survived.  His testimony had an impact on many, many people.

Then there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas, where a madman fired hundreds of rounds from a hotel window, down on a crowd of 20,000 people watching a Country Music Concert, killing 58 and wounding over 500.  You ask “How could any good come from such a terrible tragedy?”  There was story after story of love and heroism; people giving up their lives to save others.  There was an outpouring of love and compassion from all around the country to those who had been victims.  And, there were close to 20,000 people who suddenly realized how “fragile” life really is.  They realized how close they were to “eternity” and I'm sure there were many who did a little “introspection” on the way they were living their life!

So, am I saying God “caused” these things to happen?  NO!  God is not the “source” of evil.  “Evil is where there is an absence of God”.  BUT GOD could still create good outcomes from bad situations!  It says in:

Isaiah 55:8-11  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and does not return, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing I intended.

I understand that when we are in a “valley of despair” we can't see anything but the valley.  There are mountains on all sides and our vision is limited.  But, from the next mountain, you can look back, and better understand why you had to go through the valley.  You can see that you weren't alone even though it seemed like it.  It strengthens your trust and confidence, and your courage.

As a younger man, I spent so many wasted years, bouncing around in the “valley of sin”.  I believe through the love and prayers of my parents, and others; and the amazing grace, love and mercy of Jesus Christ, I was spared and saved from eternal death.  To me, that is the most amazing miracle of all.

Ephesians 2:1-8  “And you hath he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Where in times past you walked according to the nature of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience(Satan): Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”:

Don't be deceived by anyone that life will be a “rose garden” once you're saved.  Satan is only interested in those he can't control.  He will do everything in his power to destroy your faith, and you!

Temptations don't stop; the “drawing power” of evil pleasure is strong. However, God is with you!

1 Corinthians 10:13   “There has been no temptation presented to you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted more than you can handle; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to avoid it”.

Many people today are fearful over the threat of war. (i.e. North Korea, Iran, Russia, China).

Jesus said:

John 14:1  “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me”.

Isaiah 17:13  “The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind”.

Remember, evil abounds, BUT GOD has your best interest in mind!

            God Bless

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