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Wow! Can you believe that the 2018-2019 school year will begin in just a couple of short weeks?  Like a swinging pendulum, excitement and anxiousness seem to be the two primary emotions that battle for control over my household.   

When asked to write a blog relating to "spiritually preparing your kids/family to go back to school" my first reaction was …."REALLY LORD!?"  I don't know if I do everything right in sending my kids off to embark on another school year.  I asked another, more mature and wise member of the Women's Ministry to write the blog.  She declined, but made a good suggestion that we ask the ladies who attended the July "This is My Story" event to give their recommendation as to what seemed to bring success in their homes.   I find it no coincidence that the three suggestions most prevalent seemed to echo the verses from Jesus' prayer to His Heavenly Father for His Apostles just before going to the cross in John 17

1) Pray with your child every morning before school and every evening.  Bring any concerns and all praises and place them all on the altar of the Lord. 

2) Be in the WORD with your child, even if it is just one verse for the day.  

3) Let your child know that you are there for them and then be there for your children just as God is there for us when we choose to take advantage of the privilege of speaking with Him.

Like a still vibrant photograph burned into my memory, I can vividly picture the first day of pre-school for my oldest.  I can still feel the raw heartache and nerve wracking fear that accompanied the realization that my precious child, whom I protected and nurtured in the serenity of my home, was now being placed into the calloused and depraved world of school.  Can you relate?  Do you think God knows what that feels like?  Well, I believe the verses from John 17 clearly depict that Jesus felt a lot like we mothers do when He was about to leave His apostles in the world and go to the Cross of Calvary and then home to heaven.  Look intently at what Jesus prayed for to His Heavenly Father in John 17.  Dear mothers, these verses contain all the advice and direction we need to heed IF we want to succeed in "spiritually preparing our families for the school year."

When reading John 17, visualize yourself as Jesus but, you are praying for your babies whom you are placing in the world as you go to work or about your daily tasks.  Notice in John 17:1"Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven as the hour had come."  Moms, keep your focus on the Lord as another school year begins.  God the Father already knows just what you and your family need.  You need only to be still, humble yourself, and bring your requests to the Lord. 

Verse 3 reminds us where eternal life comes from and that is by knowing God and Jesus Christ whom he sent.  Did you catch that?  A true life on earth and for eternity comes from "Knowing God and Jesus."  How well do you and your family know the Lord Jesus? 

Verses 6-10 are where the prayer gets to the heart of the three suggestions made by the ladies at the event.  Jesus says "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of this world.  Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7. Now they know that everything that you have given to me is from you. 8. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9. I am praying for them.  I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them."   

Do you see from these verses the importance of being in and teaching the word to your children, giving your children back to God because they are His anyways, and the need for praying for and with them?  Jesus continues to stress the importance of staying in the Word IF his apostles are to remain unified with the Lord and asks for help for His apostles in Verse 11: "Keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me."  Ladies, don’t be discouraged if you haven't done as well as you should in praying for your children and showing them in the Bible who God is and why they can rely on Him daily for their needs.  God's grace covers that.  Simply make today the day you become obedient to God's Word.   

I encourage you to read the entire 17th Chapter of John and I close with my final point from Verses 15-19: "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19. And for their sake, I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth."  Notice there is no shortcut.  The Word of truth is what we need if we are to be in the world but not of the world.  Think of God's Word as that "moral compass daily reminder" pointing you and your children to the correct path.   Jesus knew the Apostles would require divine protection from the evil one and He made it a priority to ask His Heavenly Father to do just that.  So, don't forget as mothers to do the same for your children.   

Lastly, my sisters in Christ Jesus, note what we are to mimic in Verse 19.  Jesus consecrated Himself, which means He set Himself apart for the Father’s will, in order that believers might be set apart to God by the truth He brought.  Do not delay....go to God today, as Jesus did, and ask the Father to equip you with all you need so you can consistently display Christ to your family.  Keep yourself and your family in His Word and pray without ceasing so that it may go well for your household throughout the school year.  

Posted by Dana Mosher with
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The youth group recently traveled to the city of Carlisle, Ohio to partner with The Village Church of Carlisle and serve alongside them for the week. During the week the group spent the mornings helping the church during the kids club at the park. Students helped with groups and ran games. During this time they were able to build relationships with the kids while going through stations such as recreation, Bible, crafts, and snack. They were challenged this week to be very intentional in sharing the Gospel with students and they went above and beyond what was asked of them. Many in our group were pushed out of their comfort zone because of the sharing but that didn’t stop them! In total, we had fifty Gospel conversations, six of which came on Friday while we were at the amusement park and talking with people while waiting in line. It was great to see their efforts in several different areas of the kids club serving and sharing!

In the afternoons during the week, the group served several different ways in the area. They helped out at the church’s ministry center advertising and offering a free car wash two days of the week and helping prepare rooms for painting and other general clean up. We also helped with Headstart, which is a preschool in the area. They are currently switching into a new building so the students helped paint rooms, move tools around to help with those fixing and performing maintenance for the building, power washing the building, pulling weeds, and taking care of larger trash that needed to be carried. And the last company they partnered with was Alistrong which is a resale store where people can come shop and offer a price for different things like clothes, shoes or other household items or they also help those who aren’t able to afford clothes and allow them to come to pick up things every couple weeks. So the students helped sort through clothes, organize, paint, as well as other general building maintenance. During the afternoon time of service, the students did a great job working hard and serving the different ministries in the area.

Overall, the week was a great time of seeing students stretched and pushed out of their comfort zone, becoming leaders and ministering to the younger students around them. We had great attitudes, especially later on in the week as we were running on little sleep. They had very busy days and they continued to serve and continued to stay patient, helpful and upbeat as a group. We are very thankful for the group that went and served and are proud of their efforts during the week and willingness to serve.

Posted by Alec Erhart with

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