The manila envelope that showed up at church this week was addressed to me. Inside were about a half dozen letters that made me smile.
Apparently, the second graders at Little Rock Christian Academy were given an assignment recently. They were given the name of a local church pastor and had to write a short note of encouragement and gratitude. Here are a few of the notes that were addressed to me (names have been excluded so spelling errors cannot be traced back to anyone):
|Also this week, forty-five young people and their families traveled to San Antonio for the socially distanced finals of the 12th annual National Bible Bee. |
These remarkable young people had spent the past eight months memorizing thousands of verses.
|Mia Fuller, a 10 year old from Columbia MD was the primary division winner. She took home $3,000.|
|The first place winner in the senior division, Joyce Lu, is an 18 year old aspiring neuroscientist from Northern California who won $50,000 in prize money, along with a $100,000 college scholarship.|
|Writing a note of appreciation to a local pastor is a relatively simple gesture. Memorizing hundreds of Bible verses and reciting them on demand, word perfect, in front of other competitors is a huge achievement. |
In Psalm 78, Asaph tells us of his responsibility to guide the hearts of the next generation:
 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
 things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
 We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
Parents have the primary responsibility for the spiritual formation of their children. But all of us who are part of the covenant community of God have a job to do. We are all called to point the kids around us in the direction of their Creator. It may be as simple as helping them learn how to express gratitude and appreciation to others. Or it may be as challenging as helping them memorize passages of scripture.
Whatever it is, it takes intentionality. We have to be purposeful. It won’t happen unless we make it happen.
Think about a young person you know, and ask yourself if there is something specific you can do this week to challenge or encourage them in their faith.
And remember to pray for the next generation – that they will know and love and follow Jesus faithfully throughout their lives.
As I mentioned last Sunday, the fall COVID wave is upon us. Three times in the past week here in Arkansas, we’ve hit new highs for daily positive tests, with 1962 positive tests today, another record.
You can see from this chart, the trend is not good.
|Yesterday, Governor Hutchinson identified local church gatherings as a place where we are at risk for spreading the virus. He established new guidelines for local churches to follow as we meet each week.|
|We have been, and will continue as a church, to follow the state’s guidelines for our worship gatherings. |
So we’re asking everyone who is coming to church on Sundays to wear your masks and keep them on for the duration of the service, both inside and outside. The only exceptions will be for those who are involved in leading our worship service.
Let’s do our part to follow the guidance of our governing authorities, to slow the spread and keep others safe.
And if for any reason you aren’t comfortable or able to gather in person for church, remember that our services are always available for live streaming on Sundays, starting at 9:40 with Kid’s Church.
You may have received this evite earlier today. But just in case, you’re invited to a drive by housewarming party!
|We are a nation that treasures freedom and liberty. But how well do we understand what freedom is – and what it isn’t? In our ongoing study of John’s gospel, we’ll see this week what Jesus has to say about where true freedom comes from.|
See you (in person or on line) Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria!