No Services in OC on November 10
NOTICE: There will be no worship services in Orange County on Sunday, November 10. There will not be a worship in Irvine or Fullerton. Instead, the church will be worshiping at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach at 10 AM. The address of the Convention Center is 300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90802. Please make note of it!
Youth and Family Conference Report
The New York City Church of Christ hosted “A City On A Hill,” the 2013 International Conference for Youth & Family Ministry (ICYFM). It was September 13-14 in Brooklyn, New York. The Conference was followed by an inspirational Worship Service on Sunday, September 15, entitled “Light of the World”. Over 5000 people came together to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the NYC Church of Christ.
If you would like to listen to some of the lessons on-line, please click this link: ICYFM Messages
It was a great time of teaching about how to help our youth be connected to Christ and to their families. I’m so grateful for the lessons we can learn – especially when they are shared from the perspective experience. I know I make so many mistakes as a mom, it is encouraging to hear children share about the things their parents did that helped them fall in love with God (a big part being able to see their parents model the behavior of making mistakes, being humble and apologizing).
“Find Greatness” Family Service & Carnival
You can register here or click on the picture.
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done.” Psalm 78:4
From the beginning of time, God’s plan has always been to display his greatness to one generation and have them pass it on to the next. It is an honor to be part of God’s plan for “families to change the world”! Today’s world needs marriages and families that reflect faith in an amazing God.
Recently, we celebrated the wedding of good friends and were reminded of how special it is to find that special person, fall in love and commit your lives to one another. We held a party in their honor and brought out antique teacups and saucers that were passed down from my wife’s grandmother. These family treasures have value because of the love and relationship they represent to us. How much more do we want to pass down our legacy of faith, love and relationships with God to our kids and grandkids?
Please join us at on October 13th, in Irvine and Fullerton for our special worship services as we are inspired by two families who have found the greatness of God, and seen that greatness affect generations of those they love!
The service is at 10AM and is free. The carnival will be held immediately after, for a cost of $15 per family, or $10 for single parents or families with one child. Lunch is also available for an extra fee on site.
(Note: this article was written by Sonya Leddy. She was a part of the HOPE Brigade in Guatemala this summer. She shares about her experience in this blog post.)
My experience in Guatemala this summer exemplified the words “It is far better to give than to receive.” It was set in motion as I joined over 50 volunteers ready to give at this 3-day medical brigade. We quickly joined forces as a team of doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, teachers, students and translators all with one mission – to care for the extreme poor and those in most need. It was evident after the first day of serving that our bodies were exhausted but our hearts were fulfilled & satisfied from the work that was done.
Each day our team assembled with joyful, giving hearts to painstakingly administer medical and dental care, count thousands of multi-vitamins and pain relievers, fill desperately needed prescription medication and entertain the precious children. Hundreds were served daily at no cost, prescription and reading glasses provided free of charge, and three months of multi-vitamins distributed to every man, woman and child seen. Words cannot do justice to the impact and blessing brought to this community from the donations and sacrifices made from the churches across the US. It was truly an inspiring testimony of God’s love for the poor.
The children’s program, in which I served, bubbled with smart & creative kids. They played games, had their faces painted, made bracelets and customized their very own T-shirts. It was a pleasure to watch their faces light up as they proudly embellished their shirts with rhinestones and glitter, or colored their names artistically written in bubble letters. One mom requested that ‘God loves you.’ be written in English on her baby son’s t-shirt. While this mother was grateful for the t-shirt, I was much more grateful for her faith as a mother despite her circumstance.
While countless moments like this moved my heart, as I expected. One moment stood out. During a brief conversation with a brother from the Guatemala church I mentioned how my faith has been challenged in recent years. I experienced the loss of my 4 year-old, son to a tragic accident, and my 35 year-old, sister to an aggressive cancer. He said tenderly, “You were called to have passion for all, not just a few.” Wow!
My heart has been humbled and my passion transformed. I have not stopped thinking of Guatemala since I’ve left. My husband says I’ve found my calling. I believe him. When you volunteer with Hope Worldwide your mission is to bring hope and change lives. YOU return with a greater hope and a changed life. It IS, far more better to give than to receive.
2013 Youth Camp Report
The following is an article written by Brian Craig about the 2013 LA Youth Camp. You can find the original article on Disciples Today.
The night sky was filled with thick clouds as Geo Garces began his Wednesday night message. The camp director was preaching about how we can approach God and talk to him about whatever we are going through–even if we are feeling angry, sad, or struggling with doubt. As Geo read from various Psalms, he emphasized how the writers were honest and vulnerable with God about their feelings. And then he began to share personally himself:
“Earlier tonight, I was in that field over there, calling out to God, ‘Lord, don’t you know its Wednesday night? Why all these clouds? Don’t you know we are supposed to have the Starlight Devotional tonight? I know the forecast calls for 90% cloud cover, but please, Abba!’”
He continued, “See kids, God hasn’t answered my prayer yet. But I still need to trust him, even when I doubt, and whether he answers my prayer or not. And God wants us to be honest, vulnerable, and real with him about whatever it is we are going through and how we feel about it.”
It was the third day of the annual LA Youth Camp, and the plan for the night called for the memorable “Starlight Devotional.” That was to be the special night when all the campers would be lead out into a large hidden field on the outskirts of camp where they would lie down in the silence and dark, look up at the stars and meditate. It was to be a night where the campers hearts would open up to God and they would make commitments to him. But with the current cloud cover and the forecast for the next two days, at this point it was doubtful if we would be able to proceed with the event.
This was my fourth year driving up to Idyllwild, to the annual LA Youth Camp. John Mannel and his team began the camp back in 2000 for kids going into 5th-8th grades. Every year it has just seemed to get better and better. This year we had well over 500 campers, lots of amazing counselors, and a full staff. The camp has gotten so large and successful that the decision was made to have two camp weeks next year and split the staff between the two camps. So everyone was in the mindset of learning all they could from each other so we’d be able to not miss a beat with next year’s camps.
There is something so amazing about being surrounded by hundreds of kids at this “magical” age as they are discovering who they are and how they fit in to their community. They still have so much of their innocence, and it is awesome to watch their eyes open to God and his word. They are responsive to the influence of their counselors as they are figuring out what to do with the different emotions they experience and relationship issues they go through. It’s coIMG 0743ol to wake up early in the morning and see little gatherings of campers all through the wooded areas and along the creek as their counselors lead them quiet times together. It’s the perfect time in life to teach them to begin to look to God for help in challenging circumstances and for answers to the deep questions of life.
There are so many fun things that happen at camp, with memorable activities and sporting events. The legendary “Water Wars” are a highlight of the week; Geo and the staff talk a lot of “smack” at every assembly leading up to the great battle, so by the time the war comes the kids are a frenzy of excitement to destroy the staff in a deluge of water. But for most of us, our favorite moments are the times of worship at night in the outdoor amphitheater, as the kids scream, shout, dance and sing their hearts out to God till they have no voices left. You can’t help but shed a tear at the sound of their young voices worshipping our Creator.
So, back to Wednesday night in the amphitheater. As Geo got into his final point about going to God when we are happy, praising him for good things and remembering to be grateful, murmurings began in the crowd. “Geo, look up!” someone said. Suddenly, clouds had cleared and the whole sky was full of stars. Geo told the campers to look up and to praise God for parting the clouds for the Starlight Devotional. The crowd erupted in cheer that God had heard our prayers. It was just one of those moments when God winks at you, when he reminds you of how amazing it is to belong to him. I felt a sense of awe and gratitude in my heart for this wonderful camp. And I was filled with the expectation that these young campers were on the right track towards one day devoting their whole lives to our awesome Creator.
2013 Teen Camp Report
Each summer our Orange County Teen Ministry, along with other high school ministries from all over the Los Angeles area, travel to Big Bear for what we call “Teen Camp.” This year we took 43 students to camp from Orange County, with the total number of teens being approximately 400. We were also able to award 13 of those students with partial scholarships due to some donations from our members.
Some of the camps most exciting moments occurred during the intense competitions! All 400 students were split up into 6 “Tribes,” and tribes competed throughout the week in various competitions: Monster Ball, Lip Sync, Zombie Run, Glow-in-the-Dark Ultimate Frisbee, etc. There were points given out in each competition for sportsmanship and performance, and the Tribe of Daniel took away the trophy with the most points this year!
Apart from these competitions, students also were able to attend workshops on various subjects ranging from Family Drama, Studying the Bible, Hot Topics, and Leadership. This year’s camp also included two specialized tracks for specific campers: a Drop Zone track for our incoming 9th Grade campers, and a Senior Track for all incoming Senior students.
The theme of this year’s camp was “Speak Up.” The first lesson of camp discussed how God originally spoke up for us, creating us in his image. The second took that theme further and described how, due to our sin and disobedience, God needed to speak up again for our sake and sent his son to die as a sacrifice for us. These lessons helped the campers gain a better perspective of who God is and what He has done for us through Jesus. In small groups following those lessons, campers shared their thoughts and beliefs regarding God with each, and many openly confessed their sin in the safety of those small groups as well.
Later in the week, the students heard lessons on our need to speak up for God. We were taught the importance of allying ourselves with relationships that will take us closer to God, and to be willing to be vulnerable with others about how we’re really doing spiritually. The students were also challenged to “do work” as they went home from the mountain, making sure to put the lessons into practice and not letting the amazing camp experience go to waste!
Overall, our Teen Ministry has returned from camp fired up and ready to speak up for God as they transition back into their schools for the Fall Semester. We ask that you continue to pray for our Teen Ministry, and we thank all of those amazing staff and counselors who spent their week up at camp with our students! `