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Our Values: Numbers 1 and 2

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Our Values:  The Principals that Inform Our Decision Making 

 

Values determine how you make decisions.  If your value is that you never go into debt, you might decide not to charge that trip to Disney World.  If your value is that you will live for the day, you very well might decide to charge that trip to Disney World.  As a church, we have determined the things that we value, the things that determine our decision making.  We're preaching about them in order to introduce them to the congregation.  I hope you enjoy this synopsis.  We'll be introducing two at a time.  Thanks for reading.  PJ  

 

Aren’t they all our children?   

Jesus was particularly fond of children and he used them in many examples of what the kingdom of God is like.  Our neighborhood is blessed with many, many children.  Many come from disadvantaged families or broken homes.  We seek to find ways of incorporating them into our church, our families, and our shared life together.  They are the first thing we think about when we’re making any plans.  Even if their parents never attend our church we seek to find ways to show them the love of Jesus Christ and include them.   

 

Let’s do something beautiful for Jesus.

In Matthew 26, Jesus is anointed with a lavish amount of perfume by a woman who saw in him her Savior and Redeemer.  In verse 10, Jesus says, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”  Those with Jesus complained that such extravagance was a waste of money and could be better spent.  But we understand that when Jesus is present, extravagance is called for.  We should pour out our lives and all we possess upon Jesus and His great work.  Mother Teresa once said that Jesus travels the world in distressing disguises.  We seek to find ways to intentionally welcome him and poor ourselves out for him in every disguise he can wear, especially when he visits us as the poor or the “least of these.”   This attitude leads us to “see the need and meet the need” because by serving others we are serving our Master.  “What so ever you did to the least of these you did so to me.”   Our constant question to others must be, “How can we bless you?”

 

Trying to keep up with a move of God

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Wednesday Night Tutoring Program Gets a New Name, New Structure

Every Wednesday night we're pleased to welcome to Zion nearly 200 children who are either refugees or the children of refugees.  Many are reading at grade level and speak English well and they are incorporating themselves into WOW, our “regular” Wednesday night program for kids, or the junior high or high school groups.  For the others, we try to work on homework or English reading.  This is our third year.  We've been blessed with tremendous growth, we started 3 years ago with 4 kids, and that fast growth has always been an organizational challenge.  Over the summer a group of committed people met to revamp the program.  Out of those meetings, which continue even now, came the new name.   We continue to try and "organize" in a human way what the Holy Spirit is doing.  

Instead of calling the tutoring program, Whiz Kidz, the new name is STARs.   Whiz Kidz came out of our beginnings as the first church based manifestation of the tutoring and discipling program of Freedom for Youth. We’ve never been able to keep up with the student/tutor ratio of that very good program, so we’ve decided that we have to go our own way.

STAR is an acronym which stands for the four purposes of the program:  

S - Serve.   We serve these children as if we are serving Christ himself.  Jesus wanted us to welcome the little children and in his name we do.  Many have needs for the basics of life and we try to meet those needs: food, clothing, shoes, coats, etc.  Many simply need a friend or role model and we try to be that as well.  

T - Teach.  Thanks to an influx of tutors from many different churches and a great number of Des Moines Christian High School students, we are now able to offer better opportunities to do homework with the kids and help them read.  Our content continues to be in the hands of a professional educator and we work closely with Samuelson School to discuss needs and techniques as many of the kids are in the ELL program there.  

A - Advocate.  Many of the parents of these kids don't know how things work in our country.  So we advocate for the kids in order that they might have the best opportunity to acclimate to our society and thrive in this good land.

R - Reach.  Everything we do is motivated by the love of Christ for us that pushes us beyond ourselves and into the lives of others.  We desire more than anything else to see these kids in the kingdom of God and so through song and drama and teaching, we seek to invite them to follow Jesus.  Our evangelism techniques are sometimes subtle and sometimes very overt. We try to match the approach to the activity and to the kids. Some are Muslim and some are Buddhist and some are Animist and some attend other churches and some now attend Zion and many have no faith background whatever.  It is a mission field ripe for harvest.  

Here is what a typical evening looks like: Vans leave to begin collecting kids at 4 p.m.  We have 2 full vans from an apartment complex about 20 minutes away.  By 5 p.m we are collecting kids from local complexes.  The kids play outside or, when it's cold or inclement, watch a movie inside.  At 5:45 everyone lines up for dinner.  At 6:20 we go to the sanctuary for our opening worship as a church together.  Afterwards, WOW kids go off to their activities and STAR kids stay for a presentation.  Then it's time to break into small groups and begin the learning phase.  We usually finish about 7:45 and start the buses running back home.  The last vans are back at Zion about 9 p.m. It is a day full of joy for those of us who volunteer.  

Would you like to help?   We can always use help as the number of kids continues to grow.  Would you like to work as a homework or reading helper?  A group leader of six or seven kids?  A van driver? (We especially need help in the late afternoon, 4-5:30 p.m.).  We need your help in the kitchen - there are many mouths to feed and many plates to wash.  We need your financial support as well.  It costs money to pay for the gas for the vans, for the food bill (about $1 per plate - amazing!)  We also need your prayers.  Please pray for the continued safety, success and salvation of these priceless children and that they may see Jesus in us.  Thanks for reading. God bless you. PJ

Ramblings about God, the Church and Everything.

  • after Jesus’ own heart, 
  • with relevant, Bible based teaching,
  • with passionate and authentic worship,
  • of prayer,
  • with a heart for our city and the world,
  • where the love of our Lord is evident in the way we live and minister together. 

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