07-10-16 Special Outreach-Focused Worship Service

I am typing this after opening the windows to my car to try to get it to dry out after the interior was soaked in a huge rainstorm because we’d left the windows cracked open on a hot and sunny afternoon... which had been really humid, what with that big rainstorm early this morning...

Ah, the vicissitudes of Illinois weather...

An amazing amount of the stuff that we plan goes off strangely different from what we’d planned, and I do confess that it tends to annoy me.  But then again, sometimes that ends up making things a lot better than we’d originally planned.  Go figure.

For instance, I’d planned to continue our sermon series on the Book of Judges this week, and had the whole thing mapped out in terms of the schedule for the year.  But then, we found out that this was the only week that Kim Gregory -- our missionary with Navigators -- could come speak and let everyone know about the changes in their ministry.  After spending years in Italy, and the past few now in Colorado, the Gregory family will be ministering in China for the next foreseeable future.  Please be praying for their massive cultural transition.

So I’d planned on trimming the sermon until I found out that this was also the only Sunday when we could host YWAM missionary Melinda Merz and her partner in ministry, Anna Davis.  We were even able to host a party to celebrate Melinda finishing her thesis so that she can graduate with her Master’s degree.  She and Anna are going to be heading off to Kansas City for a conference, and then to a Jesuit retreat, and then to teaching in England.  Please be praying for wisdom and direction for their ministry.

With all of that focus on missions already going on in the service, we decided to make sure that we highlighted our upcoming Vacation Bible School (going on next week from July 18th to 22nd).  Co-leaders Wendy and Sara shared about their hearts to reach not only the children of Peoria, but also their families with the message of the Gospel.  Each year, we have roughly 40 volunteers investing a combined total of well over a thousand man-hours to create an environment and a venue for introducing an entire generation to Christ -- many of whom have never set foot inside of a church building before.  What’s telling is how many of those volunteers are actually kids (and not even from our own church) who had attended our VBS in the past, and now want to give back to minister to others through it.  Please be praying for our ministry next week, and for God to bring the increase in their lives and the lives of their families.

We also spent time praying for the Missions Team and their preparations for our Haiti missions trip next Spring (they are in the process of finalizing the details), and for Vanessa League and her harp ministry (especially since she’s doing her first domestic teaching coming up here soon).  Please be praying for both of these ministry opportunities as well.

Our church family is involved in so much outreach through missions, but we are all called to be ambassadors to this lost world, in whatever context we find ourselves in. 

So what outreach is God calling you to, personally?