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Coach Evans hands out the hardware, gets blessing;

 

The Louisa United Methodist Church held an Award Ceremony for its UPWARD basketball program  Friday, March 25, 2011.

Erin Evans, League Director, conducted the ceremony. She said Upward Basketball and Cheering League is in it’s 4th year at the Church and this year was the first year of being League Director for Evans.

“Upward basketball is a Christian program with the best sports experience through devotions, prayer, and so much more," Evans said.  "Each player receives a full uniform, shirt, and CD with Bible verses.  At the closing ceremonies on March 25, the players were given their awards of sports bags and they received their team pictures.“ 

The league has 3 age divisions: 3 year old- Kindergarten, 1st-2nd, and 3rd-7th grade.  Each division had 3 teams of boys and girls for a combined total of 9 teams in the League.  There was one squad of cheerleaders that cheered for all age groups.

“This year was a huge success," Evans said. "The coaches were great and I was so proud of all of the kids and I really enjoyed refereeing the games and running the league. They learned so much about basketball and being a Christian."

Evans, who also coaches the LCHS Varsity Girls Softball team and has led them to the state tournament the past two years in a row, also had some thank-you's to hand out during the ceremony.

" I want to thank Clara Elkins, Guy Moyer, Dale Smith, Angela McGuire, Teresa Pigg, Jan Justice, Ruth Ann Smith, Molly Oberlick, and everyone from the church that helped,Evans said.  "I was so blessed to have all of these people to help me and the kids and the program.

There were so many great basketball moments on those Saturday games but most of all I was so touched when a three year old stepped up to the microphone and led the prayer. I was so blessed this year and thankful to have been a part of such a wonderful thing for our church and community.”

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. --[1]Galatians 5:25


The sketch in my kids’ scripture memory book is of a young boy running to catch up with a woman whose purse isn’t quite clasped shut. She’s inadvertently left a trail of dollars and coins strewn behind her, and the lad is carefully collecting her accidental generosity that he might return it to her.

The boy could’ve absconded with the unexpected gain, but he doesn’t. He could’ve also expected a reward for his integrity, but he doesn’t. His reward came in the form of the simple satisfaction of having done what he knew pleased God. In the divine economy, what is the greatest reward we could ever get? It’s not the material blessings God could grant us. It’s not even the eternal enjoyments He might bestow. The greatest reward we could ever have is God Himself—knowing Him, experiencing Him, resting in Him (Jer 9:23–24). He is the greatest reward because He is, by definition, the greatest thing in the universe.

To believe God is our greatest gift has an effect on how we value everything else, including what proceeds from doing His will. The kind of heart that believes God himself is our greatest gift sees nothing else as more appealing or attractive. So the child who gives the money back to the woman without expectation of reward represents the kind of heart God wants us to have: a heart which treasures God most, which is happy to do His will even if it means he will receive nothing else in return. God is His treasure.

But  wait.  Doesn’t Jesus promise rewards for obedience (Mk 10:23–31)? Doesn’t He encourage the pursuit of treasure in heaven (e.g. Mt 6:19)? That sounds like God means to incentivize us with reward. Yet we also know that Paul warns of misconstruing our salvation as a wage for service rendered (Rom  4:4). Furthermore he seems to embrace an attitude of contentment irrespective of whether God has provided for him materially (Phil 4:11). God is not our lackey; we are His servants. So how can we understand (and seek) His rewards without misconstruing them as wages? How can we bear fruit for God without reducing our obedience to a mere transaction—a favor now for a leg up later?

Last Sunday we sought to emphasize the necessity of faith in the freedom Christ fought to furnish as the foundation of all our fruit-bearing (with apologies to those with an aversion to alliteration). We said Christ has freed us from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, but also from the compulsion to establish our own acceptance with God. Resting in that freedom has several effects, one of which John alludes to when he says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us” (I Jn 4:18–19). Faith in his love evacuates fear of our approach to God.


But I would add that faith in His freedom does more than remove fear. It also transforms—even rescues—our obedience from a transactional mindset that unwittingly conceives of God as the cosmic concierge. Knowing that my union with God—my enduring communion and fellowship with Him—is entirely grounded in what Christ has done, rather than what I do, obliterates my naïveté that I could oblige Him to reward me. Moreover, knowing the utter graciousness of that union helps me to see the height of His kindness, and impels me to obey Him for His sake alone—not merely for His gifts or even His rewards.

God does, of course, make promises of reward to those who hallow Him with their lives. But the rewards—like all things related to salvation—are bestowed not because God is obliged to compensate us, but because of His grace. We will be compelled to cast any crowns of affirmation for our obedience at His feet because we will know it was because of Him that we obeyed (Rev 4:10–11). The fruit of the Spirit comes from a heart which, like a child who unassumingly returns lost money, knows God in that way—even if it also looks forward to an inheritance still to come.

Would you say your obedience is for God, or for His gifts? Could you obey Him if He promised you nothing in return? If God loves to reward the heart that finds its reward in God alone, what conditions are you placing upon your obedience that God must strip away? What matter calls for child-like faith this morning?

by Patrick Lafferty

Greetings!

Just wanted to drop everyone a note to remind you that the Full Throttle Worship "Repairing the Gates" Concert at Christ Temple Church in Huntington, WV, is this Saturday, March 26th.  We hope you can attend. If you can't attend, please keep the speakers and bands in prayer as they minister. Let us all go to Christ Temple Church in one accord to glorify the Lord Jesus.

I am attaching the flyer for informational purposes. 

If you have any questions, please send me an email or give me a call at 304-235-1898.

We look forward to seeing all of you Saturday in Huntington. Please, forward this information to anyone you think might like to attend.

Your sister in Christ!

Cheryl Lycan

 


 

God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Moment of Glory

    The moment [Jesus] came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him.

    Mark 1:10 MESSAGE

    Key Thought

    Winning the Super Bowl, winning the World Cup, winning Wimbledon, winning the British Open, winning the Daytona 500, and winning the World Series are considered lifetime achievements for those involved in the respective sports. Yet none of these victories even approaches the significance of the moment in today's verse. Jesus, with droplets of water from the Jordan River running down his face, is honored in a powerful way by God. More than just the words of affirmation that Jesus receives (Mark 1:11), heaven is torn open — surely a sign of a world-changing event. The Holy Spirit of God comes in a visible form to show heaven's approval. Jesus is recognized as awesome: not awesome in the sense of some great athletic achievement, but as one who is worthy of awe and reverence. God the Father and God the Spirit show the majesty of God the Son. The new age of God's grace is signaled by the heavens opening, and the power and peace of this grace are seen in the coming of the Spirit.

    Today's Prayer

    O God, revealing yourself as Father and Son and Spirit, thank you for your majesty — your glory, holiness, and might. Thank you as well for your proximity — your willingness to be incarnated in Jesus and being present again through your Holy Spirit in us. Forgive us — please forgive me — for not reverencing you as you deserve. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Jesus Will Baptize with the Holy Spirit

    [John the Baptizer:] "I baptize you with water, but [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

    Mark 1:8 NIV

    Key Thought

    Jesus was and is directly involved in sending the Holy Spirit to his followers. He did it when initiating the dawn of the church with the coming of the Spirit that first Pentecost (Acts 2:33-39). Jesus also poured out the Spirit into the hearts of everyone who came to him in faith and baptism (Titus 3:4-7). Paul taught that the gift of the Spirit is the seal of our belonging to God and of our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14) and the proof that we are God's children (Romans 8:16). The presence of the Spirit is crucial, as evidenced by the fact that Paul re-baptized people who had not received the Spirit when they were baptized (Acts 19:1-7). The Spirit is the promised blessing of belonging to Christ (Acts 2:33; Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 1:13-14). The blessing comes from Jesus' own promise that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to those who asked for the Spirit to be given to them (Luke 11:13). The Spirit's presence is our source of "living water" flowing from within us (John 7:37-39). We live as followers of Jesus because the Lord has given us this great gift of grace!

    Today's Prayer

    Dear God, thank you for Jesus and all that he did to give us life and bring us to you as your holy children. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit, your holy presence within us. We praise you and thank you for your abiding grace in us and for us, and we pray that we can share this grace with others who need to know your love. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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