Have you ever been stuck? In a snowbank? In a routine? In a dead-end job? In a destructive habit? Not much fun, is it?
Do you ever eat more calories than your body needs? Feel like you ought to exercise but don’t? Know that something is wrong, but do it anyway? Well, welcome to the human race!
We all have to deal with hurts, hang-ups, and habits that we’re not proud of. The question is, how can we get unstuck?
For six Sundays (May 21 through June 25), we’ll give each other some help with that. We’ll focus on a few simple, achievable, Bible-based choices that can move us from “stuck” to “unstuck”, and put us on a path to a better future. Come join us for any or all of these worship times!
May is almost here, which means the end of school is near! Students everywhere are probably rejoicing, but you parents aren’t as excited. No matter where you fall, we’ve got some exciting things happening around RCC this May around RCC!
The Middle will be wrapping up their “Relationship Goals” series on May 10. After that, instead of another series, we’ll have two stand-alone weeks for The Middle. On May 17, one of our high school seniors will be bringing a message all about what Jesus says are the greatest commandments. The next week, May 24, we’ll be doing a big Q&A night all about the questions that have been submitted over the last several weeks. On May 31, we’ll wrap up The Middle for the 2016-2017 school year by having a big party to celebrate. More details on this very soon!
High School will begin a new series on May 7, which will be led entirely by our seniors. Four of the graduating seniors will be bringing their own message on May 7, May 21, May 28, and June 7. We will take off the night of May 14, though, due to Mother’s Day. Looking forward, we’ll wrap up the school year for high school with a party on June 11.
This summer is going to be a big one, too! Here’s a quick preview of the calendar, but we’ll share more in the near future!
- June 26-30 — Camp Create (all students invited to volunteer)
- July 2 — Summer Kick-Off Event at Field of Dreams in Salem
- July 9-15 — workcampNE Mission Trip (for current 8th graders and older)
- July 23 — Student Worship Night (for all 6-12th graders & parents)
- August 6 — Student Worship Night (for all 6-12th graders & parents)
- August 20 — Student Worship Night (for all 6-12th graders & parents)
We will most likely add a couple more events and trips to our summer calendar, so stay tuned. But for now, make sure these dates are on your own calendars!
Does it seem to you that churches do some weird things?
Maybe “weird” isn’t the right word. Odd? Strange? Peculiar?
Many church customs that we church-goers take for granted are unheard-of, or at least rare, in other parts of society. Why do we do them? What do they really accomplish?
This short series will address those questions with regard to four specific activities that “we do.” This will be an especially helpful series for those of you who’ve been avoiding church for one reason or another. Maybe it will help you see that there’s a method in our madness. At least we hope so!
April 23: “Gather” (Speaker: Steve Cullum)
April 30: “Sing” (Speaker: Brian Yakey)
May 7: “Eat” (Speaker: Andy Glass)
May 14: “Dive” (Speaker: Tom Gerdts)
“I’d love to go on an overseas mission trip someday, but…
…I don’t have the time or money for one of those challenging trips to Kenya or Poland.”
…I wouldn’t want to go without a family member accompanying me.”
…the language barrier concerns me.”
…I’m not sure it’s safe.”
Well, I’m glad to inform you that “someday” has come! RCC’s newest mission destination, the Dominican Republic (www.gomin.org) checks off all those boxes. It’s a true cross-cultural experience, but more accessible, affordable, and family-friendly than our other options — though those destinations are still fantastic, by the way. RCC’s first mission trip to the D.R., which will take place within the next year, is open to adults and teens. Whatever your age or skillset, you can make an impact and have a life-changing experience with God and His people.
Interested? I invite you to attend one of these no-obligation information meetings:
Sunday, April 23 at 12:30 PM
Monday, April 24 at 7:00 PM
Happy Spring, everyone! As we turn our focus to Easter and the upcoming end up the school year, here is a quick run-down of what’s coming up in the world of RCC Student Ministries… (Warning, it’s kind of a lot!)
The Middle (5-8th grade) will continue their “All-Access” series through April 12. This series, which we started last Wednesday, is preparing us for Easter, as we discuss how Jesus has given us all-acess to God.
High School (9-12th grade) will finish up their current series, “Lenses,” on April 2. It’s been great to talk about some deep and serious stuff over the past several weeks, as we how we should approach our future, social issues, and other big stuff going on around us.
April 8 is the Worth It Conference. All students and parents are invited to join us for this one-day event that will help us remain pure in our dating (or future dating) relationships. In addition to local ministers and youth leaders, there will also be several professional athletes there to share their stories! Sign up online today!
On Sunday night, April 9, all high school students are heading over to Park Place Lanes for a night of bowling & pizza! The cost is only $15, so invite your friends and maybe even volunteer to take care of their cost! This will be in place of our usual high school ministry, so do not come to RCC. Instead, bring your money and friends, and meet us at the bowling alley!
RCC is hosting the Salem Community Easter Egg Hunt on April 15 at Soule School. Make sure you sign up to volunteer and invite your friends, family, and neighbors to the event!
On April 16, RCC’s Easter morning worship gathering at will be at Salem High School at 10:15 AM. Also, our high school ministry will not meet that night, due to Easter.
The Middle will start a new series on April 19 called “Relationship Goals.” This three-week series focuses on three different types of goals that should be set in relationships. We’ll talk about: What you do now affects your future; Guard your heart, value others, and be honest; and IF you want the right kind of person, you need to become the right kind of person. Even if you’re not even thinking about dating right now, these are great principles to put into place for all future relationships and friendships!
All 6-12th graders are invited to join us at the Salem Boys & Girls Club for an all-nighter on April 22-23 with several area churches. We’ll have tons of food, games, music, laser tag, dodgeball, basketball, swimming, and more! The cost is $20 per person, and there’s only space for 300 students, so sign up today!
Due to the all-nighter, high school will not meet on April 23. We’ll be back to our normal schedule on April 30, though! Also, you can start getting excited about May, because our seniors have a surprise for everyone!!
Due to NH school break, The Middle will not meet on April 26. We’ll be back to our normal schedule on May 3!
If you are in 8-12th grade and have not gotten your deposits in for our workcampNE mission trip yet, do so right away! Also, if you’re not yet in the workcamp team’s Facebook group, contact Steve today, so you can stay in the loop on all our fundraiser plans and deadlines.
Ok, you can breath now! I know it’s a lot! But rest assured, it’s all going to be great!!
I think a lot of us struggle with this matter of confidence. Even those of us who give off an air of being totally “together” probably struggle on some level with self-doubt. Nothing to be ashamed of there.
But I believe that the Christian walk of life offers us the best possible basis for living a truly confident life. It all boils down to this: We’re not self-confident, but we are God-confident. “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power…” (II Timothy 1:7). “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
In this week’s message, I talked about some contrasts between a “religion” approach to the Christian life and a “relationship” approach (relationship with God through Christ, that is). They’re contrasts that have a profound effect on our identity. Here they are again. I hope you find them helpful.
RELIGION: My identity swings between two extremes. When I’m living up to my personal moral standards, I feel confident; but I’m likely to be proud, and unsympathetic toward “failing” people. When I’m not living up to my standards, I feel like a failure.
RELATIONSHIP: My identity is not based on my moral achievement. I understand that I’m simultaneously sinful and saved. I’m so bad that Jesus had to die for me, but I’m so loved that He was willing to die for me. This leads me to deep humility and confidence at the same time.
RELIGION: When I get criticized, I’m angry or even devastated, because it’s essential that I think of myself as a “good person”. Threats to that identity must be destroyed or explained away at all costs.
RELATIONSHIP: When I get criticized, it hurts; but it isn’t essential for me to think of myself as a good person. My identity isn’t built on my record or my performance, but on my confidence in God’s love for me in Christ.
RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work, or how morally good I am. So I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral.
RELATIONSHIP: My identity and self-worth are centered on the One who died and rose again for me. I’m saved by divine grace, so I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace am I what I am.
“May I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Galatians 6:14) I am confident, in God!
Not surprisingly, I got a lot of feedback on Sunday’s message. Also not surprisingly, most of it was very positive.
I don’t mean it was positive about the great job I did. That’s highly questionable! I only mean that people seemed to love the positive subject matter, about affirmation. This is another confirmation to me that we all feel the need to be affirmed, encouraged, fortified — frequently — in our Christian identity and faith.
One part that seemed to ring a bell with many of you is the “position/condition” distinction I talked about. So here’s the essence of that again:
The Christ-follower’s position is “in Christ” (Romans 8:1-2; Ephesians 2:10; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). This is his/her actual secure spiritual status in the eyes of God, by divine grace and through personal faith. The Christ-follower’s condition is his/her imperfect expression of that spiritual status. Clearly, our behavioral condition often doesn’t accurately reflect our true position in Christ. But — again by God’s grace — my flawed condition doesn’t negate the fantastic reality of my secure position!
|In Christ||A work in progress|
And here’s the key point: My true identity is firmly attached to that “Position” column. Though there are flaws aplenty in my character and behavior, I must not allow myself to be defined by them. “I am” first and foremost a Christian. God Himself states that I am His child, and that’s ultimately all that matters. His acceptance of me isn’t based on my performance, but on Jesus’ performance.
Take that, Satan! I am . . .affirmed by God!
To listen to messages from the “I Am” worship series, click here.
Day 3 in the Dominican Republic was humbling!
Our guide, Tim, introduced us to the founder of Go Ministries, Brook Brotzman. We toured the present clinic, a small house structure. And then walked to the site of the future four-story med clinic, currently under construction.
It was exciting to see 100s of children playing and learning at the school!
Breakfast was with the Lincoln Christian University baseball team, who are in the DR helping with baseball clinics for children, helping stabilize a church building and playing a few teams along the way. GO LIONS!
At the end of our day, the only thing we could talk about was The Hole — a place where the people live beside a river. There are only two words we can use to describe our experience: humbling and convicting.
Only hours from now we’ll climb on the plane and say goodbye to the physical DR. For myself, a piece of it will always be with me.
We are in day 3 in the Dominican Republic, and the weather has been amazing. But what is more amazing is what we have seen and experienced! GO Ministries is a multifaceted endeavor to share the love of Jesus with the people of the DR.
We have stepped into a clinic, churches, nutrition program, seminary and a huge sports program that’s meant to focus on developing character first. Unfortunately, though, there is no hockey!
We hugged a lot of people! And we’ve seen some life changing places. I wish you could be walking beside us! Kathy, Mike and I wish you all well! Thanks for your prayers! And we can’t wait to have a chance to sit with you to tell our story!
Hey, all you 5-12th graders and parents! Here we are again with our monthly blog explaining what’s coming up in the world of RCC Student Ministries. We’ll cover the teaching series we’re doing for each program and upcoming events.
Game Night at The Middle (March 1)
New Hampshire students are on school vacation this week, so on Wednesday, March 1, we’re taking a break from our usual teaching and small groups at The Middle for a game night. Feel free to bring a snack to share and a game to play. We’ll have some time for you to play board/card games, but we’ll also have some large-group games. Be sure to invite your friends!
workcampNE Deadline extended to March 5
Officially, the deadline to sign up for workcampNE is today, February 28. However, a huge internet server issue has taken down the site we use for online registration. So, we’re extending the deadline (again) until March 5. Please sign up right as soon as you can. All current eighth graders through college students can sign up. The dates for this year’s trip are July 9-15, and we’ll be serving the community of Springfield, VT. If you have any questions, check out workcampNE’s website and last year’s recap video.
“Escape Room” Series at The Middle (March 8, 15, 22)
You’ve probably heard of escape rooms—you know, those places where you get locked in a room with your friends and then try to escape by solving puzzles and secret codes? Some people love them and can’t wait to solve the puzzles, while others count down the minutes until they’re over. Just like an escape room, we all handle difficult and painful situations differently… but often we look for some type of relief. Whatever it is, we all have a favorite distraction— something we get lost in. But the trouble is, these good and fun distractions sometimes lead to hurting others, hurting ourselves, or damaging our relationship with God. In this series, we’ll look at how to deal with difficult situations in our lives. As we do, we just might find that God’s inviting us to stop avoiding and escaping hard times, and instead, face our troubles head-on. And maybe we’ll see that through our struggles, God builds our character, provides us with comfort, and calls us to share that comfort with others.
“Lenses” Series at High School (February 19, 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26, & April 2)
Our high school students are currently in a series called Lenses, which is all about worldviews. We all have a worldview, whether we have really thought about it or not. The real question is how do those views cause us to act? Specifically, we’re talking about how Christ-followers should view the world around them. Throughout the series, we’re going to tackle some pretty deep topics (things like college, dating, sexuality, abortion, stress, and terrorism) and discuss how Jesus wants us to approach them. We won’t always come away with exact answers, but we will provide a safe environment for healthy discussion to take place. This will take us right up to Palm Sunday, when we will head over to the bowling alley for a really fun night!
That’s it for this month. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!